Global Talent Update – February 2024

EUROPE

The sluggish economy in the eurozone and interest rate rises in many countries will continue to have an impact on the Swiss economy this year, according to news source SwissInfo. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is forecasting GDP growth of 1.1%, down from 1.3% in 2023, the second year in a row that growth will be well below average. As a result of the more restrictive monetary policy pursued by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), inflation should continue to fall next year, dropping below the 2% mark.

Despite the stagnation of the economy and the expected slight rise in unemployment (from 2% in 2023 to 2.3%), the shortage of qualified personnel is set to persist in Switzerland, as in other advanced economies. The staff shortage index rose by a further 24% last year, according to data published by the University of Zurich’s Swiss Labour Market Monitor.

More than 120,000 vacancies existed at the end of August when the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) were published. The sectors in which jobs are hardest to fill are healthcare, IT and engineering. As for the salary increases planned by companies (2% on average), these are likely to be largely absorbed by inflation once again.

Read more at What lies ahead for Switzerland: the economic outlook for 2024 | SWI swissinfo.ch.

ASIA PACIFIC

Malaysia is well-positioned to reap significant benefits from the opportunities arising from the global economic shift, said HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd (HSBC Malaysia) at a recent HSBC Asian Business Forum. HSBC Malaysia said organisations must prepare for growth and expansion and step up future-proofing measures to boost competitiveness in 2024.

Its chief executive officer, Datuk Omar Siddiq, said that Asia continues to offer prospects for long-term growth driven by sustained foreign direct investment, a rapidly growing consumer base, and opportunities in the complex manufacturing and services industries. He added that a good portion of the growth was powered by Asean, which is becoming increasingly significant in the face of several trends, such as the reorientation of supply chains, the rapid acceleration of digitisation, and the fight against the threat of climate change.

Three factors were identified as critical to Malaysia’s economic growth, namely the nation’s strategic location; pushing its labour out of the middle-income trap and across the high-income threshold; and focusing on higher growth areas. Reviving private investment is also essential to Malaysia’s continued growth in order to boost exports and generate jobs. Achieving this will require businesses in the country to make significant investments for expansion, enhance connectivity to fortify ties with other trading partners and pursue more opportunities.

Read more at Malaysia well-positioned to reap significant benefits from global economic shift | The Star.

AFRICA

A technology startup, Data @nalytics Elites Global Ltd, is set to virtually train Nigerians in data analytics skills. The effort is aimed at exposing millions of Nigerians to expertise in technical and leadership skills needed to thrive in the data analytics industry.

The essence of the training is to mentor aspiring data professionals who want to gain mastery of data analytics tools and technologies. The training, which will be held virtually on Google Meet, is meant for everyone — CEOs, senior managers, marketing/sales professionals, entrepreneurs/business owners and students.

Explaining how the training will help the beneficiaries, Iremide Olatunji, the founder of the firm, noted that there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day on the internet, social media and communication devices and that there are high demands for these data to be analysed to help businesses, governments and individuals make smart choices and decisions. The training will also offer the beneficiaries access to mentorship by thought leaders in the data analytics field working for Flutterwave, Omnibiz and ARM, among others.

Read more at Tech firm set to train Nigerians in data analytics skill | NigeriaWorld.

SOUTH AMERICA

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently launched the New Industry Brazil (NIB) plan which promises to invest R$ 300 billion (US$ 60.12 bn) by 2026 in a move to boost the South American country’s economy. The project laid out by the National Industrial Development Council (CNDI) aims to transform Brazil’s industry into a more innovative, green, exporting and productive sector.

“It’s very important for Brazil that we once again have an innovative industrial policy, a fully digitalized industrial policy as the world demands today, and that we can overcome, once and for all, this problem of Brazil never being a definitively great and developed country. We’re always on the verge, but we never get there,” said Lula.

The head of state also stressed that foreigners only talk about free markets when they are selling but adopt a protectionist stance when buying. He also noted that in 2009 during a G20 summit in London, the end of protectionism was already debated amid global recession but the subsequent events went in the opposite direction.

The R$ 300 billion resources will be made available through specific lines within the More Production Plan.

Read more at Brazil’s gov’t pushes for further industrial development | MercoPress.