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New professionals’ guide to global jobs

15 July 20160 comments

A new interactive website which reveals the professions that are in high demand in particular countries is proving a vital tool for the growing number of international migrants.

There is currently an estimated pool of 20 million potential international migrants and many of these have professional qualifications.

Just about every country in the world is need of nurses but there are also places where there is high demand for accountants, pharmacists and even chefs – for example Belgium and the UK.

And psychologists looking for a change of scene could try the Nordic countries, where they are in demand.

NursesIn Australia, the most in demand professions include all types of engineers, doctors, dentists, nurses and IT professionals.

The BBC’s Business section has developed an interactive guide to the top 20 most wanted professionals internationally and the countries that want their skills.

Globally, the top 20 most in demand professions are: nurses, mechanical engineers, doctors, electrical engineering professionals, IT developers and programmers, IT engineers and analysts, civil engineering professionals, IT database and network professionals, accountants, dentists, pharmacists, industrial and production engineers, electronics engineers, chemical engineers, mining and petroleum engineers, physiotherapists, psychologists, radiographers, audiologists and speech therapists, and chefs.

See the guide here.

The BBC team says that over the past two decades, some countries have relaxed the entry process for a few foreign nationals that they want to attract.

They used records of migration flows to track the movement of professionals.

Using reports by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), they gained an overall view of migrant flows and of the changes in policy of its 34 countries to manage their foreign labour force.

And two 2012 reports – International Migration Outlook and Connecting with Diasporas – were major sources about where in the world migrating populations from different countries were going.

But because countries collect data differently, have different vocational qualifications and terminology, the task was not easy.

But once countries were selected because of the availability of data, the team’s next step was to compare their classifications of occupations with the International Standard of Occupations (ISCO-08), which was used as a base for their research.

“Most countries use similar standards, but in areas such as IT, some extra work was needed to make sure that the occupations were being properly grouped and understood. There seem to be many different names for IT professionals, for example, out there,” BBC researcher Camilla Costa said.

“Reaching a comprehensive agreement on how to group the professions was difficult. Some countries build their lists from the very specific employment offers available. Hence, they are more specific about the types of professionals they want: some of them will say just ‘accountant’, while others call them ‘account controller’ or ‘auditor’,” she said.

For this reason, the team looked at finding common ground to group the professions, such as the academic background that allows a person to become an auditor – a degree, master’s degree or doctorate in accountancy, for example.

We are aware that there are different paths to becoming a professional, and not all of them involve a specific degree in a particular field.

However, most of the countries with skill shortage lists require university degrees from their candidates. If they don’t, they usually grant working visas on condition of a job offer, in which case companies carry out their own recruitment process, the team said.

Despite its limitations, the data, once examined, showed an interesting picture that echoes the more detailed studies and reports by the OECD and the International Labour Organization.

“In the list of professionals the countries say they want to recruit, we were able to see trends in the mobility of highly skilled professionals in the past decade: health professionals, IT professionals and engineers were the most sought after by the majority of the countries, either to replace the ageing workforce or to compensate for a lack of skills in fast developing countries,” Ms Costa said.

Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist