Here's a quick game for a Friday, I'll give you three lines from a recent article titled, 'Workforce shortage a structural problem', that assesses macro labor market conditions and you try and guess which labor market the article is referring to.
1. "A lack of skilled technical workers coexists with the difficulty most students and recent graduates have experienced in finding full-time employment, because few of them possess the technical skills required."
2. "Graduates are finding it difficult to get jobs and many enterprises are facing problems in recruiting workers and technicians, revealing structural problems in the employment market, said (redacted to make it harder for you to guess)".
3. "Even then, it is still not easy to attract experienced, skilled workers. So, we have now signed an agreement with some technical training schools so that we get first choice of the best students to become interns in our company. We hope that cooperation such as this will help to develop a talent pool for us."
So what's your guess?
Could be most any type of technical or skilled manufacturing type job in the USA, right? It possibly could be some areas of healthcare, as the aging population places more demands on the healthcare industry to supply trained workers at the same time many college nursing programs are straining under budget costs constraints and still have long waiting lists for student admission. Maybe it is the US auto industry, that seemingly has emerged from near-death to post robust sales and profits as this classic American industry continues to rebound and confound (hat tip to Walt Frazier).
All good guesses, and all could be correct in the right context, but the actual correct answer is the Chinese labor market, and all three of the above quotes were take from a piece titled 'Workforce shortage a structural problem', on Chinadaily.com.
You should click over and read the entire piece, but the short summary is that many of the same types of problems that we often read and hear about in the US labor markets - the skills gap, the lack of technical training that matches industry demand, the problems with shifting labor pool demographic composition, etc., seem to be just as important and profound in China as they are here in the USA.
I am certainly not going to offer '5 tips for solving your Chinese market labor problems', here on the blog, and in fact, if you truly are looking to a blog to try and solve those kinds of problems, well, I'd say you have bigger things to worry about.
But I will offer this observation, that no matter where in the world you look to source labor and locate production, issues with skills training, development opportunities, and the best talent having lots of options besides yours to choose from seem to be pretty much the same no matter where you end up. I'd offer that you as a talent professional can try to run from talent shortages and skills gaps, but no matter where you run to, you'll probably find the same problems.
Only you might need an interpreter to help you understand them.
Have a great weekend!