The Right People in the Right Place at the Right Time
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On May 17th, more than 100 executives gathered at Mærsk’s headquarters in Copenhagen to hear about the “Global Talent Mismatch” from Manpower’s David Arkless, a world-renowned expert on labor market trends with widespread experience of helping countries develop strategies for their labor markets.

Following brief welcoming remarks from Bill Allen, Maersk’s Group Senior Vice President HR, David Arkless delivered a thought provoking keynote on the ”Global Talent Mismatch” – The Right People in the Right Place at the Right Time.

How can it be that with an 11% unemployment rate in the Euro Zone, that 2.8 million jobs go unfilled? And in the U.S. with a 10% unemployment rate, 1.8 million jobs go unfilled? According to David Arkless, President of Corporate and Government Affairs for Manpower, Inc., the answer is simple: Supply and demand are out of sync creating a global talent mismatch.

The picture isn't getting any brighter either. With an expected 50 million decline in the workforce in Europe over the next 16 years, it will take an economy with the forensic intensity today to prioritize forecasting the skills needed and doing what it takes to insure an adequate supply. Those economies that don't address this issue risk slower growth - and a loss of competitive edge.

In order to get the talent supply and demand right, Arkless says that it’s essential to have an exceptional forecast (company-by-company, sector-by-sector and region-by-region) of the skills and competency levels that will be required in the next year, in 5-years and in 10 years.


Arkless predicted that productivity will define the future global competitiveness landscape. “Essentially what every country wants is economic growth. The key to economic growth is increased labor productivity and the best way to increase labor productivity is to be better at matching individual skills to current and future jobs,” says Arkless.


If you're going to grow your economy, where do we find the skilled workers? It has got to be a mixture of developing people with the right skills and getting a much more inclusive workforce.

“Demographics will be impacting every economy in the world. Unfortunately, in the political arena of Europe, where we desperately need to do a number of things, we’re not doing one of the most important: Accentuating and promoting an active immigration policy from outside the EU, for skilled workers that can appropriately integrate into European cultures” says Arkless.

Foreign Investments

Also key to future growth is attracting much higher levels of foreign direct investment (FDI). However, It’s no longer enough to simply offer a variety of investment incentives. “Every country that’s increasing its FDI by more than 5% has a talent strategy aimed at attracting FDI,” says Arkless.

Arkless concluded his keynote with some pointed advice for Denmark and it’s political leaders: 

“Denmark has a relatively successful  economy. You were doing well before the recession, you did pretty good during the recession and it hasn’t been that bad since the recession. You’ve got one of the finest labor systems in Europe (flexicurity) and you’ve got a government that generally heads you in the right direction. However, Complacency now is a formula for the disaster of the economy in this country,” says Arkless

Arkless added, “The systems you have – the social systems, the flexicurity system, training, development and skills forecasting - are all inadequate for the next 10-15 years. Denmark needs to change them now and there’s no better time for change than with a new administration.”

The event was rounded out with an interactive panel discussion which featured Margrethe Vestager, party leader of the Danish Social-Liberal Party and Charlotte Mark, Site Leader for Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen. Both readily agreed with Arkless on the importance and urgency of Denmark addressing its own talent mismatch.

Click here to view the AmCham HR Committee's white paper "The talent to succeed".

A.P. Møller Mærsk
Manpower Group
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