2014 is expected to be a modestly stronger year for the global economy, with GDP growth projected to surpass 3%. The expansion will be led by a moderate strengthening in North America and the slow but steady recovery in Western Europe. On the other hand, many emerging markets continue to face challenges including structural issues and political turmoil that are limiting growth.
The positive economic climate is expected to lead to continued solid hiring gains in key markets including the U.S., U.K., and Germany—but the labor market outlook is also surprisingly favorable in some areas such as China, Russia, and Brazil that are forecast to see weaker GDP growth. Across Southern Europe, labor markets are showing some signs of improvement, but the recovery process will likely be protracted.
Clearly, labor markets across the globe continue to rebound from the economic turmoil of recent years with varying degrees of success. The ILO estimates that in 2013, there were 62 million fewer jobs worldwide in comparison to pre-crisis trends. This number includes not only the increase in unemployment since 2007, but also the number of discouraged workers who have left the global labor force altogether. This jobs gap is projected to reach 81 million by 2018. As the recovery progresses, companies and workers alike are learning how to adjust to a “new normal” in terms of the talent landscape. Changing economic circumstances and opportunities call for new workforce capabilities, and the ability to address critical human capital issues remains a critical business imperative.