07 Jan

Modern globalisation increasingly changing the labour market

Modern globalisation is having a huge impact on the labour market through a new generation of workers willing to be internationally mobile.

Willingness – or, in many cases desire – to work abroad is becoming a key trend.

Globalisation requires us to move faster to keep up with the competition. The fall of the Berlin wall, the growing influence of the Internet and the rise of China and India, mean that the global labour market is also becoming competitive.

Three major trends now characterise the future of the global labour market. These are: a willingness to be internationally mobile, the globalisation of labour markets and the impact of ‘Generation Y’.

Recruitment research has noted an increase in the amount of people willing to be mobile in the international labor market, indicating people are keener to move around. Willingness to work abroad depends on whether people want to live and work in a new environment and whether they are tired of their home country. Working abroad can also be driven by the need to get closer to relatives or learn a new language or culture.

Another reason for working overseas is the economic situation at home. This isn’t the actual state of the economy of the home country, but its perceived state. This perception can be a result of a short-term financial crisis or a slow rate of growth, as we’ve seen in the UK construction sector.

Then we have a major trend in the globalisation of labor markets. In 2006 barely anybody used search engines like Google for job-hunting. By 2009 this method was used by over 40 percent of job seekers.

When looking for jobs in local markets, 41 percent of respondents in the Global Talent Mobility Research study said they would use search engines. When job-hunting internationally, this number rose to 49 percent.

Besides the use of search engines, important developments have emerged with job boards, affecting the effectiveness of international job-hunting. As in the case of search engines, this made it easier to search for jobs in the global labour market.

Three types of job boards can be identified:

  • Local job boards exist to search for jobs within a home country, and within a local labour market.
  • Job boards abroad are job boards for a variety of markets in specific countries, however many of these job boards aren’t user friendly.
  • International job boards combine local job boards into one search and allow a job-hunter to search for similar jobs across multiple countries simultaneously.

People looking for a job abroad make even greater use of social media – 35 percent of respondents in the Global Talent Mobility Research said they would use social media when searching for jobs. Just three years ago, this wasn’t the case: respondents to the 2006 study didn’t mention social media at all.

Then we have ageing workforces due to the baby-boom generation. These workers will soon retire. The next generation, Generation Y, is anybody born between 1980 and the early 1990s.

Gen Y will form a bigger part of the active workforce in the coming years, affecting attitudes towards employment in general. The entry of Gen Y into the workforce and the simultaneous decline of the baby-boomers will have a notable impact on the global labor market.

Three characteristics for Gen Y are: They were raised using computers and other digital devices, resulting in a greater use of digital job-hunting methods; they are more predisposed to studying abroad, resulting in students leaving their home country; and it’s common for them to go backpacking after finishing college or university, aided by today’s cheaper flights.

Gen Y are therefore more international and more outward looking than their predecessors, impacting levels of international labour mobility.

Research shows that the younger somebody is, the more willing he or she is to be mobile in the global labor market. The desire to explore different cultures, the opportunity to meet new people, to link up with overseas family, or simply a better climate are more important reasons for this age group.

Employers should be prepared and act appropriately to every event and trend affecting future global labour markets. 4U Resourcing is here to guide them through the maze of current trends.

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