Since 2008, Europe and North America's employment levels have dropped faster than Felix Baumgartner. Even the merest hint that unemployment have levelled off is heralded as good news in the majority of countries. Meanwhile, while the West languishes, in certain emerging markets companies are clamouring to hire professionals.
Antal International's employment survey for January 2013 paints an interesting figure. Since the last ‘global snapshot' in April, the percentage of companies in the Middle East and Africa has soared from 10% to 55%. Likewise, APAC and Eastern Europe/Eurasia have seen a massive jump in companies planning to hire in the next few months.
The percentage of companies hiring right now isn't quite as high, and has actually fallen in the last year, from 55% to 47%, but certain countries are still ripe for professionals looking for work. Africa especially is on the up; Botswana has the highest percentage of firms hiring- 82%- while Nigeria (70%), Ghana (68%), Algeria (57%) and Mozambique (55%) all have a majority of companies looking to hire.
In Asia, the Philippines is the place to be for the budding professional with 71% of companies hiring. India, however, falls in line the global average while China has contracted from 72% to 59%. Latin America also underwhelms with average hiring levels. It seems as the BRICS slow down, their hiring levels are also levelling off. But as other, smaller markets look to grow, there's a real opportunity for professionals- - especially those in the technology hardware industry.
This rise in African professional hiring may be due to a high level of confidence in African CEOs - according to PwC's Global CEO Survey, 95% are confident long-term about growing their businesses on the continent in the next three years. There are possible dangers however. The availability of key skills is already a key concern for the majority of African CEOs, while efforts to attract executives from Europe have struggled.
South Africa doesn't fare quite as well as other African on the hiring front (47%), yet suffers an under-24 unemployment rate hovering around 50%. We've already written a lot about the skills shortage in South Africa, and there is the danger that it could also happen in other African countries.
SA's skills shortage means companies have a chronic need for professionals, and are willing to pay through the nose for them; many are commanding salaries on par with their European counterparts. Companies poaching their rival's' employees with offers of more money are also commonplace, meaning workers often jump ship, and fail to gain any kind of long- term experience and growth within one company. Offering extra benefits such as flexible work hours, gym memberships and rewards for long service are becoming more common as efforts to retain staff increase. Some companies in SA are offering jobs to foreign professionals to fill the gap, often from India.
While the global job market is still volatile and varies widely across different regions, companies are less like to fire anybody in the coming months than they were this time a year ago, which shows more stability than previously seen in recent years. So whether you plan to move to Botswana or not, the job market is looking slightly brighter.
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Phil Muncaster reports on China and beyond