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Make Sure Your Skills Are in Demand

Thursday, 2 Dec 2010 | 2:30 AM ET

David Arkless, the President of Corporate and Government Affairs at Manpower, travels the world speaking to governments and businesses about one thing: talent.

Peter Dazeley | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Whether it is a multi-national looking to break into China or a middle-eastern government trying to create policy to get people into work, David will be aware of the opportunities and challenges posed by creating work or filling posts with a limited talent pool.

The issue is increasingly complex, as the forces within the global economy change, according to Arkless.

"The policy considerations need to keep a long-term view on the challenges. Increasingly we need to take into account the international dynamics, notably how we best make the emergence of China and India into global prominence an opportunity, not a problem," he said.

Many will tell you that when faced with an unemployment problem, training is the answer, but it is not that simple, Arkless said.

"Training alone does not seem to be the solution," he said. "Higher skills are of course inherent in the labor market dynamics, but the use of modern and more effective training tools should allow for an increase in skills intake in a shorter time, not a longer."

There is a gap between what employers are looking for and what is actually being supplied by educational programs, according to Arkless.

"Training in general, and certainly additional time allocated to training should be focused on the job market and considered against its actual needs," he said.

If you are a young person thinking how to equip yourself for the world of work, it may seem like common sense to take a course in an area that will pay dividends when you graduate.

But in a fast changing world this is becoming increasingly difficult for established professionals, let alone young people.

"When young people make their career choices there is no or little immediate penalty for making wrong decisions.

Later, however, all too many job seekers pay in the form of being relegated to long term unemployment, with due costs also for the society" Arkless said.