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As Economy Improves, Attention Turns to Unemployment

As Economy Improves, Attention Turns to Unemployment

March 10, 2014

Before last month's World Economic Forum in Switzerland, organizers surveyed more than 1,500 experts from the WEF's Network of Global Agenda Councils and Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers communities to identify the 10 global risks of highest concern to business leaders, governments and civil leaders.

Not surprisingly, the No. 1 concern was fiscal crises in key economies. But as many of those are resolving – the U.S. is well into its slow recovery, Japan's Prime Minister said that nation is about to "get back on track" and Europe's concerns are starting to ease – much attention has turned to the No. 2 concern: structurally high unemployment and underemployment.

The author of the 2014 World Economic Forum annual report noted: "In considering strategies for growth, participants acknowledged that there were no quick fixes – even for such pressing problems of exclusion as youth unemployment."

Despite high unemployment worldwide – around 200 million people currently – one-third of employees say they still can't find human resources with the skills they need. While these numbers are global, U.S.-based executives say similar things. And companies are still failing to use existing employees to mentor younger workers to give them those skills sets.

But focusing on ways to bring new people into the industry can help to tackle the problem of structural unemployment and the need for certain skill sets, participants at the WEF noted.

Mentoring is an important part of building a stronger distribution industry, as noted by Judy Wojanis, president of Pittsburgh, PA-based Wojanis Hydraulic Supply, in MDM's latest 7 Minutes With Interview. It expands the pool of potential talent by giving people who haven't traditionally been a part of industry access to it, such as young people and women.

And in the November 2011 episode of MDM Executive Briefing, industry veteran Kevin Boyle highlighted many of the ways to integrate mentoring into your workplace.

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