Amidst unemployment, skills shortage exists

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Amidst unemployment, skills shortage exists
Everest Turyahikayo, Manager, Uganda

High global unemployment is due to irrelevant skills possesed by job seekers. Many employers cannot find well qualified job seekers.

Although there is an outcry over the increasing rate of unemployment in Uganda and beyond, evidence shows high levels of skills shortage globally. This is perhaps an indicator that many job seekers possess either irrelevant skills or they do not actually go where jobs exist. A thorough scrutiny of recent surveys about the skills shortage reveals that many employers continue to fail to identify job seekers with the desired skills, knowledge, abilities and motivation. The recent Landelahni Mining Survey for example, indicated continued lack of qualified mining engineers in Africa.
Another survey conducted by Springboard Research among 400 Information Technology (IT) end-users, 400 software developers and programmers and 82 IT training and education providers in Australia, China, India, Malaysia and the Philippines reveals that Asia Pacific enterprises are experiencing the greatest shortage in areas such as enterprise architecture, application development and system integration. The survey also found regional companies to be lacking talented IT staff who also possess business-domain knowledge and managerial skills. The shortage of IT professionals with adequate business knowledge most affected high-tech manufacturing companies, such as those in the semiconductor and flat panel display business.
A joint research conducted in August 2010 by recruitment specialist Robert Half and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which involved interviewing 1,600 professionals in finance and accounting across Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore uncovered an alarming rate of skills shortage. A significant 81% of Singapore respondents with recruitment responsibilities believed there was an existing skills shortage in finance and accounting in the country. The problem is more acute in Singapore and Hong Kong with more respondents reporting the shortage to be “chronic” than in Australia and New Zealand. Skills shortage is limiting factor on the expansion of production.
In Austria, construction workers, architects and engineers are in heavy demand. In Bulgaria there is a shortage in particular of IT specialists, waiters and chefs; Poland needs doctors, welders and mechanics; Romania has an urgent need of textile workers. In Slovakia and Hungary the shortage mainly concerns electrical, mechanical and automotive engineers. Throughout Eastern Europe the building industry is most heavily hit.
A recent study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 817 companies in eight provinces of Laos across industries such as energy, clothing, tourism, agriculture, wholesale and retail and machinery has discovered that Laos is facing a major shortage of skilled labour, highlighting the possibilities for foreign workers to find work in the nation. Researchers found that the furniture sector was hit hardest and needed 3,000 workers to make up for the deficit.
In Africa there is high demand for obstetricians and gynecologists. For example, Namibia's medical directory lists 13 gynecologists. Uganda and Tanzania each have around 200 such specialists for populations of 33 and 45 million respectively. The shortage of healthcare workers is a global phenomenon. The continent needs more IT specialists, professionals in industrial design, chemists, textile engineers, and mineral explorers, to mention but a few.

With the following measures in place, skills shortage can become history.
• There is need for countries with potential labour force to export man power to countries in need.
• It is high time universities designed curriculum to include competitive courses on the labour market.
• Students should be guided to pursue professions needed in the labour industry.

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