The Economist: Asia's skills shortage: Capturing talent
Despite its booming economies and huge numbers of people, Asia is suffering a big shortage of skills. And it is about to get worse.
IT SEEMS odd. In the world's most populous region the biggest problem facing employers is a shortage of people. Asia has more than half the planet's inhabitants and is home to many of the world's fastest-growing economies. But some businesses are being forced to reconsider just how quickly they will be able to grow, because they cannot find enough people with the skills they need.
In a recent survey, 600 chief executives of multinational companies with businesses across Asia said a shortage of qualified staff ranked as their biggest concern in China (see chart 1) and South-East Asia. It was their second-biggest headache in Japan (after cultural differences) and the fourth-biggest in India (after problems with infrastructure, bureaucracy and wage inflation). Across almost every industry and sector it was the same.
Old Asia-hands may find it easy to understand why there is such concern. The region's rapid economic growth has fished out the pool of available talent, they would say. But there is also a failure of education. Recent growth in many parts of Asia has been so great that it has rapidly transformed the type of skills needed by businesses. Schools and universities have been unable to keep up. ...