Extracts from two pieces of information that have “hit the streets” just recently.
The UK’s ageing population and huge debt have propelled it into the top 10 of countries threatened by unsustainable public finances, new research has found. Britain is now one of 12 nations rated “extreme risk” in the Fiscal Risk Index compiled by global analysts Maplecroft.
The UK was ranked 10th in the list of 163 countries – up from 27th last year under a slightly different method of calculating positions – because of its high public spending on health and pensions, massive borrowing and shrinking working population.
The Fiscal Risk Index identifies nations that will come under increasing economic pressure in the future because of low birth rates, high life expectancy and state commitments to look after older people.
Italy topped the international league table, followed by Belgium, France, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Denmark and Austria. Japan came ninth, the only non-European country rated “extreme risk”, with Finland 11th and Greece 12th.
Professor Alyson Warhurst, chief executive of Maplecroft, said: “Governments in high risk countries may need to rely on business to help them absorb the costs.
“At the very least, governments will need the private sector to recruit and retain older workers and provide for more generous pension arrangements.”
Talent management has become the number one preoccupation among chief executives at global organisations this year because skills shortages are becoming increasingly apparent as they gear up for renewed growth.
The report (by PriceWaterhouse Coopers) indicated that skills shortages were not limited to (such) emerging markets, however. “Voluntary turnover declined in mature economies during the recession, but historical trends demonstrate that it will return. As a result, talent is at the top of the agenda for global CEOs.”
But the scale of the skills shortage problem was also leading to some new thinking in order to tap its underused resources – although action remained limited. For instance, although fewer women than men were economically active in nearly every country in the world, only 11% of chief executives were planning to make ‘significant changes’ to policies aimed at attracting and keeping more female employees.
Few have altered policies (10%) in relation to older workers either, however, even though they constitute another underused talent pool and there is an awareness that the retirement of large numbers of baby-boomers could cause problems. Some 54% of bosses said they were looking at more effective ways of recruiting and keeping younger staff, however.
Because of these skills shortage issues, some 54% of respondents said that they intended to work with government and educational establishments in future in an attempt to improve the available talent pool.
Sounds like good material for a joint research project between the “University of Joined-Up Thinking” and the “University of the B******g Obvious”?