Why the jobs gap is growing

Why the jobs gap is growing

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that in 2013 there were 62 million fewer jobs worldwide in comparison to pre-financial crisis trends. This number includes not only the increase in unemployment since 2007, but also the number of discouraged workers who have left the global labour force altogether. This jobs gap is projected to reach 81 million by 2018.

A key driver of the global jobs gap is a significant skills mismatch.


Employers continue to struggle to find workers with the right skills, keeping unemployment rates high and job growth muted. Annual job growth in developed countries is expected to average just 0.5% in the coming years—about half the rate seen in the early 2000s.

High unemployment is expected to remain a challenge, particularly in areas where the skills gap is most acute.


To compound the challenge, adaptability—the capacity to match talent supply and demand efficiently—varies widely across the world’s labour markets, reflecting cultural and structural factors, as well as the ability of employers and workers to respond to changing circumstances, and opportunities.


As the recovery progresses, companies and workers alike are learning how to adjust to a “new normal.” The changing landscape calls for new workforce capabilities, while the ability to effectively address human capital issues remains a critical business imperative. Strategic workforce planning, talent analytics, and talent supply chain management are emerging as components of a more holistic solution to companies’ workforce challenges.

Yet amid all this planning, we can never forget that “human capital” is—first and foremost—human. The workers who make up the modern labour market continuously reshape it as they shift their professional preferences and priorities, and as generations with different viewpoints enter and exit the workforce.


To create effective workforce strategies, companies need to understand what attracts, engages, and motivates all types of talent around the world—not just the talent they have, but the talent they hope to have. Ultimately, even the best-laid workforce strategy will fail if it ignores the voice of the workers.


To better understand how workers think—and how employers might respond—Kelly Services developed the Kelly Global Workforce Index™ (KGWI), an annual global survey with nearly 230,000 respondents across 31 countries, three generations, and a multitude of industries and occupations. Read the full report here.