The global fight for talent in the era of economic recovery

Expat news
  • candidats a un entretien d'embauche
    Shutterstock.com
Published on 2021-11-23 at 13:30 by Mikki Beru
After an economically difficult 2020, 2021 seems to be putting most countries on the road of economic recovery. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects global economic growth of 5.9%. The recovery will be driven mainly by the major powers: the United States (+6%), Canada (+5.7%), the Euro zone (+5%)... In this race for competitiveness, countries are competing for international talent.

The sectors in full bloom

This sector seems to never experience a crisis. IT jobs are very popular. Cooptalis, a recruitment agency specializing in international mobility, confirms this statement. IT is one of the few sectors that has not been affected by the COVID-19. Working in the Human Resources division, Stéphane confirms: "demand for IT has never fallen and currently accounts for 95% of our activities. More specifically, we have seen a sharp increase in IT demands for a few years now, and this will only grow in the next 10-20 years, as everything becomes digitized. 

In the next few decades, data scientists, data analysts, developers, artificial intelligence engineers, computer scientists, network managers, community managers and SEO specialists are among the fastest growing positions. The reasons for success? A connection with a multitude of strategic sectors: marketing, health, finance, banking, commerce, e-commerce, sports, politics, law, industry, ecology, research, science, agri-food, education, IT, politics, telecommunications, transport, insurance... The multiplication of digital exchanges increases the demands of companies, at all levels and in all fields. To be competitive, we must be present on social networks, master the web language, identify and capture the demand, solve its problems, facilitate its procedures, anticipate its expectations, and even create new needs. 

The semi-conductor crisis has made the powers that be realize the deleterious effects of being too dependent on China. To meet the new environmental and demographic challenges, the industry is once again relying on skilled workers, engineers, maintenance technicians, roboticists, digital control operators, mechatronic engineers, home automation specialists, drone pilots, 3D printers, Build Information Modeling managers, design engineers, quality controllers, solar panel installers, etc. This emulation can be seen worldwide. 

In the United States alone, major cities are competing to attract the best. The main weapon: the salary. More than $53,000 a year to work in construction in Los Angeles (that's nearly €4,000 a month). That's less than Boston (about $57,900, or about $4,200) and San Francisco (about $59,200, or about $4,300/month). Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Denver or Portland offer salaries ranging from about $54,000 to $44,000 (about €3,900 to €3,200 per month). This is enough to attract talent and even encourage more retraining. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, some sectors have been eroding in favor of others. The restaurant industry is struggling to retain its employees. Low wages and hard work have driven employees to higher paying sectors, including construction and transportation. The American group Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings has increased drivers' salaries by 40%.

The most sought-after profiles

At Cooptalis, "everyone has a chance". Thanks to its experience in the field, the recruitment firm has built relationships of trust with its partners. "We provide personalized support for each talent. We take care of them personally, from A to Z: from the beginning of the expatriation project to the installation in the country. What we want is for each talent to be serene and ready to discover his or her environment," explains Stéphane. A human approach, allowing us to highlight the potential of each individual. An approach that highlights "soft skills", that is, behavioral skills. Increasingly studied, they complement the "hard skills", that is, technical skills. It is important to talk about complementing, and not about a hypothetical "soft skill VS hard skill" war.

Fortunately, many professions require technical qualifications. From butchery to engineering, from medicine to plumbing, nothing is improvised. Stéphane confirms: "You have to rely on experience, especially for very technical jobs. So there is no war, but rather a set of criteria that outlines the profile of talent. "We recruit based on human values. This is also a trend that has been observed for several years now and a trend that will continue. We are looking for people who are open to the world. Recruitment is increasingly focused on interpersonal skills, rather than know-how. This know-how is appreciated during the recruitment process. In addition to the classic CV, new recruitment methods focus on creativity and putting the candidate in a situation: videos, simulations, role-playing, etc.

The World Economic Forum 2020 has revealed the top "soft skills" that every candidate should possess: analytical thinking and innovative spirit, ability to manage complex problems, critical thinking, active learning, creativity, sense of detail, emotional intelligence, team management, time management. Emotional intelligence is a newcomer to the top of the list and is defined as taking into account one's emotions and those of others. Traditionally frowned upon in the working world, emotions are now valued. Empathy and mastery of compromise are at the heart of the "soft skills" sought after. Note that Silicon Valley has developed a third concept: the "mad skill", or the search for atypical behavior. Start-ups have adopted this concept to attract the most bankable profiles.  

Reinventing work

To attract new talent, recruiters are reinventing themselves. The first step is to change the way they see work. Telecommuting has revolutionized the relationship with time and professional activity. Digital nomads are multiplying; the need for independence is growing. A feeling of freedom sought after by international talent, for whom professional fulfillment is an integral part of quality of life. The United States, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, Finland, Germany... countries are all trying to attract the best talent, highlighting the modernity of their programs and infrastructures, the weight of their investments in innovation, career prospects, innovation hubs and competitiveness clusters... 

Reopening of borders, massive recruitments from the big powers... Only the resurgence of the Delta variant casts a shadow over growth prospects. The economic situation remains very favorable to international mobility, especially in sectors that have been slightly or not impacted by the crisis. For expatriation candidates, this is a chance to live their life project internationally.