With 2.95 million jobs added in 2014—the strongest year of growth since 1999—and unemployment rates in the mid-five percent range, it may be easy to believe that the labor market challenges of the last few years are a thing of the past, but are they?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. The economy has opened up, but the reality is that the workforce is something that continuously evolves—something that will only become more apparent as globalization impacts the way we work.
The main currency of this evolving workforce? Top talent. It’s no question that other countries are competing to develop, attract and hold on to the best of the best, so where does the U.S. fall in the mix?
According to the 2014 edition of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), an index that illustrates and measures how countries ranked in producing, retaining and attracting talent, the U.S. took the 4th spot out of 93 coming after Switzerland, Singapore, and Luxembourg.
What does the GTCI tell us about building a more competitive environment for talent?
Bob Crouch, CEO of Adecco Group North America, weighed in on the rankings and noted that it’s not just about getting and retaining the right type of talent, it’s about building a thriving workforce that will fulfill the jobs and skills we predict will be available in the future.
“Some of the most in-demand jobs require skills that many people don’t have,” says Crouch, “If the main problem is a lack of skills, it stands to reason that training is the answer.”
So what can be done?
Put an emphasis on applied learning
One of the greatest challenges in regards to education at large is motivating students to engage early and often in the career development process. This is particularly problematic in higher education cross most countries. A solution? School systems should offer a range of options ranging from degrees to technical and professional training leading to diplomas or certificates in areas like STEM jobs, language training, apprenticeships and skills upgrading.
Combat the skills gap
Today, 8.4 million jobs are not being filled because of mismatches in skills and geographies. This will continue to increase if students and new graduates are not equipped with the real skills needed in today’s hyper-competitive market. Educational institutes of all levels need to revamp their traditional guidance, and develop public and private partnerships to ensure curriculums are being shaped for the workforce of the future.
While these are just two ways that we can develop talent in the shifting workforce, there are additional ways we can attract and build talent. Read more in our full GTCI report now.