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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Labour crunches, labour crunches everywhere

The New Straits Times (Malaysia) today runs an article about labour shortages in Malaysia. Apparently, there is a gap of 200,000 workers in the manufacturing sector, followed by 150,000 in construction, 50,000 in plantation and 20,000 in the service sector.

Partially, this might relate to the crack-down on illegal workers, but this is probably only half the story. We are back to the times of the talent wars.

Even China, of all countries, is reporting the need for professional workers. It was reported in a study from 2003 that that 35 percent of managers at foreign-owned companies in China were expatriates. This compares with 10 percent in Thailand, 19 percent in Singapore and 7 percent in South Korea.

And the numbers of expatriates in China is increasing - Nearly 40 percent of multinational companies operating in China are planning to increase the number of expatriates they send to the mainland during the next two years.

Why? Because the skill level is lacking.Ismail Shariff, the human resources chief of Apple Computer's Asia operations is quoted as saying that "it is easy to hire a local professional - China has a lot of them. The problem we have is that they have not reached the level where we can rely on them. Their skill competences are not at satisfactory levels."

And that is where the challenge is located. It is not important to just hire anybody - you want to hire those that are great "assets". That hit the floor running or those, that are adoptable to your company.

(By Asia Business Consulting)