Taiwan needs ‘macro control’ by government to address labor market mismatch

More than 60 percent of laborers in Taiwan complain about skill gap, studies show

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A seminar organized by The Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation (黃昆輝教授教育基金會) on Sept. 25 to address skill divide in Taiwan (by Taiwan News)

A seminar organized by The Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation (黃昆輝教授教育基金會) on Sept. 25 to address skill divide in Taiwan (by Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The government of Taiwan should adopt the “macro control” approach to cope with the increasingly severe problem of talent mismatch and supply and demand imbalances in the job market, experts pointed out in a seminar organized by The Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation (黃昆輝教授教育基金會) on Sept. 25.

Taiwan has ushered in an era marked by vigorous development of tertiary education following the lifting of Martial Law in 1987, which has resulted in a boom in university departments in the fields of communications, food and beverage management, and performing arts over the years, noted Professor Fan Shi-ping (范世平) of National Taiwan Normal University.

The rise of these departments, which are deemed more attractive to students, has failed to address the real needs of the corporate sector and led to the worsening talent shortage in the labor market, Fan lamented.

In light of this, the government should assume the role of “macro control” that involves government intervention in bridging the gap between industry demand and talent supply from the country’s academic institutions, he suggested, adding that incentives should be implemented to cultivate departments associated with areas where businesses struggle to fill positions.

Echoing Fan’s view, former legislator and principal of Kao Yuan University Tseng Tsahn-deng (曾燦燈) indicated that Taiwan is experiencing a dire situation of significant divide between employment and skills, evidenced by the results of three recent studies. According to the research conducted by The Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation, 111 Job Bank, and Yes123 Job Bank, 77 percent, 57 percent, and 66 percent of respondents respectively reported a mismatch between their skills and the ones required in the workplace.

Tseng advised Taiwan to look to Germany, which believes a sound vocational education system lies in the recruitment of teachers with solid work experience from the industry and thus with the knowledge of what skills are really needed in the labor market.

From the perspective of the corporate world, I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko (高志明) also provided his insights in the debate of the skill gap, suggesting that company scale, industry category, and a lot more factors should be weighed in when the complex issue of job market mismatch is to be dealt with.

Former Minister of the Council for Economic Planning and Development Chen Po-chih (陳博志), on the other hand, advised that the government introduce foreign talent for a short-term fix, and establish demand assessment and worker retraining schemes as long term solutions to the predicament facing Taiwan.

A seminar organized by The Professor Huang Kun-huei Education Foundation (黃昆輝教授教育基金會) on Sept. 25 to address the skill divide in Taiwan (by Taiwan News)