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Global Talent Index Survey to 2015

October 11, 2011

In May 2011, worldwide executive search and consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles released the Global Talent Index Report:  The Outlook to 2015. This report was written by the Economist Intelligence Unit and surveyed more than 400 top executives from 60 countries. The Index was first published in 2007 and “benchmarks the countries on their capacity for developing, attracting and retaining talent, both in 2011 and projected to 2015.”

The survey covers a broad swath of industries, with respondents from the IT and technology industries comprising 8% of the respondents. Previous posts have addressed the issue of a shortage of qualified U.S. workers in the high tech sector of the economy. Indeed, appearing last week before the House’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, Darla Whitaker, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Human Resources for Texas Instruments testified

Texas Instruments’ goal is to hire the best engineers and innovators from U.S. universities and to retain them. We do not choose where those engineers were born or what their citizenship is. We choose the best, the brightest and the most creative engineering graduates. . . .

The majority of those graduating from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in electrical engineering (EE) are foreign nationals. Of EEs graduating from U.S. universities with Master’s degrees, 55% are foreign nationals. Of PhDs, 63% are.

TI doesn’t choose the pool of graduates, we recruit from it.

Perhaps most significantly, while unemployment is high generally in the U.S., in engineering, it is not. Recent Labor Department statistics place the unemployment rate for electrical and electronics engineers at 3.7%. The competition for STEM talent is tight.

Interestingly, although the Global Talent Index Report covers 19 different sectors of the 60 countries’ economies which were surveyed, over 1 in 10 of the respondents indicated that “[g]overnment policy regarding immigration and/or free movement of labor hinders the ability of good candidates to meet demand.” In the current Index rankings, China increased its score more than any other country, due in large part to “the country’s willingness to embrace foreign workers.”

The results suggest that not only do businesses and employees view the labor market on a global, rather than a national, basis but a significant number of business executives in countries around the world view restrictive national immigration policies as a hindrance to recruitment of talent necessary for their businesses to compete.

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