Global Talent Update – November 2023

EUROPE

A recent survey by the Chamber of Commerce reveals a growing interest among Finnish companies in recruiting or leasing international talent, yet there’s a hesitancy to adopt English as the workplace language. While approximately 62% of companies have considered hiring international expertise, a significant 71% are not prepared to switch their workplace language to English.

The survey indicates a positive trend in hiring international professionals, with 59% of businesses that have hired foreign talent describing their experience as positive or very positive. However, a major obstacle remains: 58% of companies have not employed foreign talent due to the requirement of native-level Finnish language proficiency for job roles.

The Deputy Director General of the Chamber of Commerce is encouraging more companies to recruit international workers in order to ease the current talent shortage and points out the need for more flexibility in language proficiency requirements at workplace communities, which often provide the best environment for learning job-related language skills. This not only benefits the professional but also assists in their integration process.

Read more at Lost in translation: Finnish firms eager for global talent but hesitate on English shift | Helsinki Times.

ASIA PACIFIC

At the National Financial Work Conference, usually held twice a decade, China’s leaders are expected to search for ways to mend the country’s fractured property market, create jobs for millions of unemployed youths and spur faster growth. This is expected to further fortify leader Xi Jinping’s control of the country’s $61 trillion financial sector. It follows the announcement of plans to issue 1 trillion yuan ($330 billion) in bonds for infrastructure projects and disaster prevention.

By dipping deeper into deficit, the government is looking to counter a sharp slowdown in housing construction. Economists say the challenge lies in finding ways to ensure sustainable, balanced growth while unwinding massive debt held by real estate developers, local governments and regional banks.

Although the economy, the world’s second largest, expanded at a 4.9% annual pace in the first nine months of the year, close to the government’s target of about 5%, the International Monetary Fund has warned that debts of local governments have risen to hazardous levels, raising the level of total government debt to nearly 150% of the country’s GDP.

While retail sales and other services have revived since China ended its stringent anti-virus controls late last year, the jobless rate for young Chinese topped 20% earlier this year and demand has yet to fully bounce back.

Read more at China holds major financial conference as leaders maneuver to get slowing economy back on track | AP News.

CENTRAL AMERICA

Columbia Sportswear has long relied on factories in Asia to make its clothing, but that has become increasingly precarious due to a trade war that is eroding the benefits of using Chinese factories and the disruption caused by the pandemic that highlights the dangers of relying on container ships to transport products across the Pacific. As a result, the company has begun exploring factories in Central America to reduce the distance between the brand’s manufacturing operations and customers in the United States.

Colombia’s exploration of Central America reflects a reshaping of international trade as geopolitical forces spur multinational companies to reduce their dependence on far-flung factories. It also shows the lessons of the pandemic: after exceptional product shortages, major brands are eager to facilitate the restocking of their merchandise.

Central America appears to be well-positioned to attract apparel manufacturers. Under a trade agreement, clothing made in factories in the region can be exported to the United States duty-free if the yarn is made in American factories or in Central America. Columbia, based in Portland, Oregon, has in recent years relied on factories in Vietnam and Bangladesh to supply American customers. Central America now accounts for just 7 percent of its world production, a share that could double in the next three to five years.

Read more at Columbia Sportswear explores factories in Central America | US Today News.

AFRICA

According to a report in Africa News, Africa stands at a pivotal crossroads, grappling with political instability, climate change, and the urgent need for economic development. With a youthful population, the continent is becoming an attractive consumer market, drawing attention from supply chains worldwide. Amid these issues, says the report, one question remains: Can Africa fund its economic development, and how?

In today’s global economy, African nations are poised for a significant transformation in their export and trade landscape, as reports suggest one trillion dollars in exports is expected by 2035.

Gambia is set to achieve a significant milestone by launching its first-ever stock market, just after debuting its first capital market. This historic event paves the way for a host of new financial opportunities within the country, creating an attractive environment for investors to participate in the nation’s economic progress.

Read more at Can Africa fund its economic development? | Africanews.