manpower hr exec on world labour markets

Wednesday 11 November, 2009

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce seems to be beefing up its international resources to pick up the slack of their recently departed officemates from the now closed World Trade Center Illinois.  In that vein, the CCC hosted a luncheon featuring David Arkess, Manpower’s President of Corporate & Government Affairs who discussed Understanding And Developing Labour Market Strategies,Here And Abroad Here’s what he had to say.

The recession hasn’t really changed anything:  it just accelerated attention on the financial sector.  Connectivity has risen & people are moving, resulting in social shifts & economic imbalances which are causing divergences everywhere.

On a quick tour around the world, in the Asia-Pacific region, China will dominate in 30 years.  The low value of their currency allows the to export with impunity.  These days they are really seeking access to global talent.  China loves the fact that India is democratic because democracies move more slowly.  Japan is still a disaster.  Europe is to socialistic & becoming more so as a result of bad policy decisions.  There is a correlation between the facts that it’s the most difficult to fire an employee in France & France has shown the least growth since WWII.  Germany & Switzerland are accelerating out of the recession with exports.  The new UK Prime Minister will forge closer ties to the US.  Unemployed youth are the problem in Middle Eastern countries.  Central Africa is drawing aid, but it’s not working.  In North America, the stimulus worked in Canada, but the US needs Stimulus Package #2 creating grants & rebates to create new jobs.

There are 3 global HR issues:

  1. scarcity of talent-the US has 2M unfilled jobs, while Europe has 3.2M.  There is a mismatch of supply & demand in labor markets & demographics (losing 20M workers with retiring baby boomers) are killing the G20 countries.
  2. globalization-forget work/life balance:  it’s too competitive today.  Everyone’s work day/week/month/year is getting longer.
  3. productivity-is increasing in our virtual world as we focus more on skills rather than tenure.  Performance is a result of work, discipline, & practice.


Global labor mobility could solve some of these supply & demand mismatches but local politicians get in the way.  The International Organization of Migration a UN organization, is the only organization that focuses on immigration.  Otherwise individual states control immigration with multi-& bi-lateral agreements.  The alternative is black/gray labor markets, i.e. criminal activity.

fyi-I interviewed Manpower CEO Jeff Joerres awhile ago part 1 part 2


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