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Oct. job growth sees 43% year-on-year fall

By Ann Yu--The Council of Labor Affairs, citing a survey of over 3,000 local companies, yesterday forecast an increase in hiring of 36,300 workers by the end of October, a 43.09-percent drop from 2012. Last year's survey predicted a 63,800-worker increase.

Of those surveyed, 22.4 percent predicted a rise in their number of employees, 65.61 percent forecast no change and 5.82 percent foresaw a decrease. Experts have chalked up the drop in hiring as a result of the global economic slump and shrinking domestic export rates. Moreover, faltering consumer rates and price hikes have also dampened entrepreneurs' desire to invest, resulting in weaker hiring.

Despite the decreasing need for workers, the council pointed out some positives, such as that industries' supply of job opportunities was still growing. According to the survey, the companies most in need of employees were in the industrial manufacturing and service sectors, with predicted hiring targets of 16,000 and 20,300 workers, respectively. Other than an over-saturation of the workforce in the telecommunications and art industries, the financial, retail, transportation management sectors all appeared ready to add new employees.

Over 63 percent of those asked stated their need for new workers was due to rising market demands and expanding businesses, while 30.38 said it was due to the departure of previous employees.

Slightly more than 12 percent of firms in the financial sector and 14.9 percent in the warehouse and storage industry said they were obliged to hire new graduates according to a “hire the new” project.

Skilled Labor Shortage

Although statistics showed that workforce needs were diminishing, the 1111 Job Bank reported that 77 percent of companies have felt a severe loss of talent. Companies generally felt the difficulties in keeping high-level profession talent, while there also was a shortage in skilled labor.

According to 1111 Job Bank spokesperson Charlene Chang (張旭嵐), the number of high-level professionals in Taiwan greatly exceeds demands, resulting in talent loss to foreign countries offering higher salaries. Ironically, fewer people are willing to take a skilled labor job, causing a shortage in the markets.

With professionals leaving the country, and insufficient skilled workers,

Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), a member of the Executive Yuan Political Affairs Office, warned this would turn Taiwan into a third-rate nation within five years.

Chang stated that because of Taiwan's social values, most technical schools are evolving into universities or colleges, creating more people aiming for white-collar jobs while fewer are willing to take working-class jobs. This has resulted in education for tech students being insufficient to meet the actual requirements of work environments, causing an additional waste of training resources for the employer, she said.

Chang urged government officials to take on the issue seriously, initiating changes in the education system, labor policies and retaining talent.

Chang Yeung-chang (張永昌), founder of Formosa Chang, a restaurant famous for its braised pork rice, shared his experience in keeping talent within his company.

“Keeping your talents is equal to maintaining your competitive edge,” he said. The employer is responsible for training the right employees and meeting their needs, whether in salaries or benefits. “It's a waste for an employer to train a staff member for three years, only to see them leave. We have the responsibility to keep them,” he noted.

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