A clearer distinction is needed between mass unskilled immigration and the free movement of skilled workers to ensure businesses globally have the talent they need in order to succeed, says Hays CEO, Alistair Cox, in his latest LinkedIn Influencer blog.
Government elections have taken place across the globe in 2017, placing a spotlight on immigration once again with many countries choosing to limit migration or impose strict targets. However, many organizations rely on access to the global talent pool to run their business.
Organizations unable to find the skills they require at home, while being denied access to overseas talent, will find themselves exposed to skills gaps – making it harder for them to achieve their continues goals.
“We need free movement of skills in order for economies to run at their full potential and in turn for society to enjoy the many benefits it brings. Put simply, countries need to be opening their borders to skilled workers, not closing them,” says Cox.
There are many benefits to skilled migration, Cox states, “We know that diverse teams often perform more strongly than those made up of people with a similar background or set of experiences. Hiring in external talent often raises the skill level of current employees. This can only ever be a good thing.”
Immediate solution to the skills crisis
Bringing highly-skilled professionals in from overseas is seen as the immediate solution to the skills crisis, whereas the long-term solution lies in education and the reskilling of workers.
Cox explains, “Educating our young people is an excellent long-term approach, but it doesn't plug the gap that is already apparent to many businesses currently trying to hire skilled workers. Establishing a talent pipeline for the future is something that takes time and can’t simply happen overnight. If education is the long-term solution to the skills gap, then skilled migration seems to be the only shorter-term solution.”
Cox states having access to the skills organizations need could be the difference between a company failing or succeeding, saying “Prosperity and growth depend on people, and that without the right talent and skills, businesses and therefore societies can flounder rather than flourish.”
Cox closes by saying, “Having access to the very best people, regardless of their origination, should be an issue near the very top of any government’s agenda. Running a business, I want the very best people working for me so that I can compete and win in a global market.
"Surely running a country warrants the same approach to attracting talent? However we must not lose sight of the fact that it is not just business that stands to benefit from this. Allowing skilled migrants onto our shores (wherever those shores are) will allow companies to run to their full potential.”