Hays: Overhaul work permit system to solve skills shortages

13 Nov 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

It has been suggested that an overhaul of the Tier 2 work permit system could help tackle chronic skills shortages.

The latest Hays Global Skills Index for 2012 claimed that there is an estimated shortage of 76,400 engineers in Europe alone. The IT profession is also struggling, with a gap of around 38,000 recorded in the index.

These shortages of skilled employees come despite the fact that many countries are still battling high and rising unemployment levels, suggesting that global competition and inadequate training or education could be behind the skills gaps.

Hays proposed a three-point long-term plan to tackle the issue. Firstly, it urged governments to focus on the skills that are lacking in their economies and tailor their immigration policies accordingly. For the UK, this could mean adjusting the shortage occupation list and ensuring that the right people have access to Tier 2 work permits.

Secondly, the recruitment professionals advised governments to offer incentives to employers to encourage them to provide relevant training to their staff.

Finally, Hays explained that there is a strong need for governments to work with employers and educational authorities to implement a series of measures and incentives to persuade young people to focus on acquiring the skills that are needed internationally and at home.

Alistair Cox, chief executive of the group, commented: “The report illustrates a major paradox in the world's skilled labour markets.

"Many countries are suffering chronically high levels of unemployment, yet employers are struggling to find enough skilled individuals to fill the posts available."

He added that it is somewhat ironic that on a global level, the workplace is actually struggling to find people with the very skills that would “help stimulate economic growth and thereby create opportunities for the unemployed”.