| GEO Business|
| Beware labour shortages: APEC|
| Updated at: 0235 PST, Tuesday, November 10, 2009|
SINGAPORE: From nurses to welders, Asia-Pacific economies including the United States and Japan face critical labour shortages if they fail to allow easier movement of temporary workers, a study has warned.
The research, commissioned by the APEC Business Advisory Council urged governments to address the problem or risk hampering business competitiveness and economic growth.
The report, expected to be circulated at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Singapore this week, said most free-trade deals within the grouping looked at easing travel for businessmen.
'They ignore the movement of the actual skilled and lower-skilled workers that are needed in large numbers to fill these labour shortages and skill gaps,' it said.
The study, by the University of Southern California Mashall School of Business, raised the need for a 'policy framework' among APEC members to facilitate the movement of temporary labourers.
'Real shortages of skilled and lower skilled workers exist in many APEC economies, even during this recessionary period,' it said.
'And these labour shortages and imbalances of skills and jobs are predicted to become increasingly critical because of the changing demographics of ageing populations,' it added.
'This gives business real concern as access to workers is directly correlated with business competitiveness and growth.'