Competition in the global markets

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Competition in the global markets

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The distinguished research professor from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom argues that increasingly, graduates in many countries will not just compete for graduate-level jobs within their country, but with university graduates from many other countries who are willing to accept more modest wages.

This competition for jobs is fuelled by several global trends, including an explosion of higher education across the world.

Q What exactly is the global auction for talent and is it still happening? A Central to the global auction thesis is the view that the competition for jobs has shifted, from one largely restricted within clearly defined national boundaries to a global auction open to competition across borders.

While this has created new employment opportunities, many university graduates in developed economies, including Britain and the United States, are confronted with a reverse or Dutch auction in which they are competing with much cheaper graduates in countries like India and China.

Competition in the global markets

There is an explosion in the supply of university-educated workers in both affluent and emerging economies. It is driven by several trends, including the massification of higher education. Take China, for example. Inthere were about million graduates in the Chinese workforce.

Bythis figure is expected to rise to million. And similar dramatic growth in university enrolment is evident in India.

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So there is more congestion and intense competition in the job market. There is also intense competition in education - where you have students trying to outdo each other to gain an advantage.

The other trend to watch is companies now Competition in the global markets the capacity to integrate webs of high-skilled labour across global operations. They now cast a wider net for the cheapest workers with the skills they need, turning the contest for graduate-level jobs into a "global auction".

While employees want to increase the value of their labour and earn higher wages, companies want to maximise profits and aim to lower their labour costs.

So they will go where they can find workers with the skills they need, but who are prepared to accept more modest wages. Q What other trends are driving this? A Another trend we talk about is Digital Taylorism - where white collar work is being broken down into elements.

Taylorism refers to the large-scale, assembly-line manufacturing principles laid down by US industrial engineer Frederick Taylor. Digital Taylorism occurs when white-collar work is broken down, standardised and computerised such that it can be delivered by lower-skilled but cheaper workers.

New technologies have increased the potential to translate knowledge work into working knowledge, leading to the standardisation of an increasing proportion of technical, managerial and professional jobs.

Analysing X-rays, drawing up legal contracts and processing tax returns are examples of jobs that have been hit by this trend. Even bank jobs are not protected. There are already "financial services factories", as banks and insurance companies continue to break down tasks into a series of procedures that can be digitalised.

Q With such a challenging graduate job market, should Singapore be increasing its university cohort participation rate to 40 per cent? A Many developed economies have similar cohort participation rates, and so far the Singapore economy has performed well enough to provide enough jobs for its graduates.

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And a country with a wealthy economy and society should give its people access to further education opportunities. And that may not be easy for the Government to deliver. Q So, how should the Singapore Government respond to help guard its graduates against the global auction for talent?

Competition in the global markets

A Beginning with low-skilled jobs in manufacturing, Singapore has now established itself as a major location for research, financial services and high-end manufacturing. It is tempting to conclude that as long as Singapore continues to invest in education and employability skills, this process of workforce upgrading will continue to deliver rising prosperity and a competitive economy.

Singapore has few options but to focus on its human resources, and to continue to pursue the broad strategy of raising the demand and supply of skills.

The central question is how best this can be achieved in the light of the global auction. Among the issues that Singapore needs to look at is how it nurtures and distributes talent, and further on, if hit by significant unemployment or underemployment, all developed economies, including Singapore, will have to think about how we are going to find new ways of sharing the rewards of employment and the benefits of economic activity.

Singapore needs to nurture local talent that multinational companies will find attractive and will help anchor their presence here. The Government should also nurture the local small and medium-sized enterprises.

This will grant Singapore a degree of economic autonomy within a context of MNCs constantly seeking to cut costs through relocation. Singapore is already making advances on several of these fronts, including growing its indigenous companies.

The SkillsFuture movement is also a major step in the right direction as it aims to provide Singaporeans with opportunities to develop to their fullest potential. Q What is it that individuals can do to thrive in such an environment where there is worldwide competition for graduate jobs?

A Whatever further education paths one takes, follow your passion but also ask the hard questions.The high prices in reals have provided Brazilian producers the flexibility to undercut U.S.

prices and have encouraged continued acreage expansion, all factors contributing to Brazil’s rising global market share. As long as U.S. producers continue to battle against a weak real, this trend will likely continue.

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Global competition is the services or products provided by competing companies that serve international customers. There are challenges that are faced in .

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