GLOBILITY® - 15 June 2017 

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EMEA

Skills Shortages Still Blocking Development
The World Economic Forum’s Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 notes that though there has been progress in reducing education gaps, skills are still a substantial barrier for development on the continent. In addition, compared to advanced economies where higher education participation is still increasing significantly, Africa has only seen an increase from 6.5 percent to 8.5 percent over the past 10 years. The report leverages information from the African Development Bank and the World Bank, and explores what policies need to be implemented to enable Africa to reap its potential demographic dividend. One of the most important findings: because a large faction of the workforce is undereducated by international standards, there is a barrier to private-sector development, particularly in the context of what is being referred to as the fourth industrial or digital revolution which requires a new and frequently shifting set of skills. Higher education, innovation, institutions and infrastructure are among the pillars used to rank countries’ competitiveness. Read more about the WEF Africa Competitiveness Report here.  

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Eurozone GDP Marks Fastest Growth Rate Since 2015
The eurozone’s economy grew at a faster rate than previously estimated during the first three months of 2017 as investment spending continued to rise. Even with the potential of an uneven political year in Europe, the economy seems resilient, with growth reaching two-year highs. The UK, limited by political uncertainty and investor anxiety, was the slowest growing economy of the year – in fact, across the G7 economies, its economic growth relegated it to the bottom of the table at an 0.2 percent rate. Find out more about the Eurozone GDP.

APAC

Vietnam Is Losing Economic Ground to China Due to Lack of High-Skilled Workers
Vietnam has a dilemma. Famed as a “go-to” region for export manufacturing with the appeal of low-cost labor, its fast-growing economy is now feeling the lack of skilled labor and the obvious barrier to growth it presents for opportunities like high-tech goods. The large lesser-skilled labor force has allowed Vietnam to maintain lower labor costs than its neighbors, like China, but also limits the country’s appeal for hi-tech investors. If this talent scenario persists, Vietnam could lose its exalted manufacturing position in Asia to China. Understand more about Vietnam’s workforce.

 

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Saudi Arabia to Start Collecting Expat Levy Next Month
In July, Saudi Arabia will begin collecting a new tax from expatriates and their dependents - a move that is anticipated to elevate the country’s revenues amid weak oil prices. The new fee, to be implemented from July 1, will be 100 Saudi riyals (Dh97.93) per dependent per month, and is expected to increase gradually every year until 2020. By next year, the figure will double to 200 Saudi riyals and increase to SAR300 in 2019 and SAR400 in 2020. According to a briefing paper prepared by PwC, reforms such as the levy on foreign workers may help augment government revenues, but they can increase the cost of doing business in the kingdom. Companies in Saudi Arabia currently spend 200 Saudi riyals per month to cover the levy for every non-Saudi employee. (This applies to organizations where foreigners exceed the number of local workers.) Starting next year, the fee will be increased gradually until 2020. And for foreign workers not exceeding the number of Saudi staff, the fee will no longer be waived, but will be imposed at a discounted rate. Learn more about Saudi Arabia's expat tax.

AMERICAS 

Government Affairs Community Update
Worldwide ERC®’s latest update includes a report on U.S. immigration and the June 12 introduction of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy, along with mobility industry impact statements. Navigate to the most recent Government Affairs Community Update.  

Fast-tracking Skilled Immigrants Only a Start, Tech Industry Insiders Say
Though Canada has launched its new immigration policy aimed at fast-tracking low-risk, highly skilled workers into largely tech-related vacant jobs, some technology industry advocates feel it’s not robust enough, and hope that the government's promised innovation agenda holds more strategy and process that nets them skilled immigrants that include designers, computer programmers and engineers. With border and immigration restrictions tightening south of the border, some workers will look to Canada rather than the U.S. for new opportunities. Read on about the concerns for Canada’s innovation agenda.  

Brazil's Crisis Stalling Economic Reforms Seen as Crucial
Brazilians are troubled by the solutions presented to cure the country’s declining and overregulated economy: longer hours, fewer benefits and later retirement. Expansion of the job market is critical, but so is trust among the working class, and business leaders and top economists argue that reforms are needed to convince investors to start pouring money again into Latin America's largest economy, which is tentatively emerging from a deep recession. Read more about Brazil’s workforce woes and economic reforms.

Global Interest 

Top 10 World Economies in Digital Competitiveness
The just-released IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2017 names Singapore, Canada, and the United States as the top three countries that are the most competitive digitally in the world. The report, which was designed to "assess the capacity and readiness of a country to adapt, explore and make the most of the digital transformation,” was based on 50 criteria, including such elements as talent, capital to business agility and IT integration, then parsed by three categories: knowledge, technology and future readiness. For the full list of top 10 digitally competitive economies, read on.  

Truth and Myth in The Gig Economy
The gig economy isn’t all dog-walking and car-sharing! In fact, it is increasingly emerging as an alternative labor force for use by large companies. Fortune 500 companies have a long history of supplementing their permanent staff with contract workers, and in recent years have been tapping into the gig economy, embracing this movement across many types of verticals. This workforce trend makes it possible for companies to draw on a diverse demographic range of contract workers. Learn more about the gig economy as an alternative labor force.