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Recruiter sees opportunities, challenges in India, China

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, DEC. 4. By the year 2010, a combination of demographics, technology and globalisation will throw up some great opportunities and some formidable challenges in India and China, Manpower Inc., a U.S. based recruitment firm, has said. By then, half the world's labour force will be located in the two countries, Manpower says.

Last year the company earned $12 billion (Rs. 54,000 crores) in revenues finding staff for its customers and selling related human resource development services. The New York Stock Exchange traded company has offices in India too, including Bangalore, where it focuses on staffing for the information technology and related businesses.

Critical questions

Critical questions facing managers everywhere include how changing population patterns might impact the global workforce, what would be the influence of technology, what does it take to be competitive in an economy where information is gold and in which people's aspirations are on the rise, Manpower said in a release here. A key related phenomenon would be the movement of labour and work, the release said.

For instance, within a decade, half the world's labour force will be located in India and China. Iain Herbertson, the company's Managing Director for the region said, statistics from a `Future World of Work' study show the workforce in Asia growing in numbers and skills and shrinking in regions such as Europe and Japan. Multinational companies can ill afford to ignore this, he says.

Manpower, oil company Shell, a consortium of three EU based multinationals, Unilever, Zurich Financial and Herman Miller, the International Labour Organisation and the China State Shipbuilding Company funded the study. By 2010, if current trends continue, 90 per cent of the world's scientists and engineers will be Asians working in Asia. But, half the world's population of people over the age of 50 will also be in Asia by that time according to the study, says Manpower.

So, the good news, that more Asian students get access to education from leading universities and schools from the U.S. and the EU, is tempered by the projection that some 683 million people in Asia will be over the age of 50. Multinationals will then face the challenge of balancing the availability of workers in India and China with the requirement of getting work done in other parts of the world, Manpower says.

The Future World of Work study also found that technology-driven improvements in manufacturing productivity contributes more to job losses than offshoring. For instance, better technology led to losses of manufacturing jobs not only in the U.S. but also in China. "Over the last few years, China has lost 15 per cent, or 16 million, of its manufacturing jobs and the U.S. has lost around 11 per cent, or two million jobs in the same period,'' the study found, says Manpower.

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