NAO signals red light on Taiwan workforce shortage
Stilted wage growth and an exodus of Taiwanese workers are two problems that the National Audit Office (NAO, ) highlighted in a recent release of government statistics, calling for setting up a more “labor-friendly” environment to avoid the continual brain drain, the Central News Agency reported.
Taiwan’s economic growth was in line with government predictions, the NAO said, referring to results from the 2014 govern- ment general report, yet the labor market still sees low pay and overworking. Both factors result in an unfavorable environment for retaining or attracting talent, said the NAO.
To maintain the country’s competiveness, the NAO suggested that the central government set up a supervisory system on the flow of human resources, and implement effective regulations to retain talent.
The NAO also proposed that the government should consider ad- justing the regulations on hiring foreign professionals, in order to solve Taiwan’s workforce shortage and reflect changes in the nation’s population structure, developments in the industry, economy and society, the labor market and the supply and demand for the workforce.
Labor shortages in the future will become more significant due to the shrinking labor workforce, and the brain drain of high-level professionals, the NAO warned.
Real wages fell as salaried workers’ pay-range adjustments last year were not in sync with price- range changes, the NAO stated, citing numbers released by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).
The NAO also stated that the monthly wages for 70 percent of employees did not reach NT$ 40,000, while 40 percent earned less than NT$30,000, both showing that a national low-wage crisis has become the norm.
Even more pressing is how Taiwanese employees maintain long- working hours even when their wages have shrunk, compared with the pay standards 20 years ago, the NAO said.
Annual wage groups that show zero-growth or shrinking growth are workers earning NT$550,000 per year, making up more than 60 percent of labor workers in Taiwan, and those earning an annual wage less than NT$250,000, who total around 30 percent of the workforce. Both sets of statistics show stagnant wage growth in Taiwan is becoming steadily prevalent, the NAO said.
The NAO’s report also referred to statistics from the National Development Council (NDC). While the report showed the numbers of Taiwanese workers aged 15 to 64 will see its peak this year, the portion of the working-age population in the total population numbers will freefall from 2014’s 74.1 percent to 2061’s 50.4 percent, further solidifying the trend of the shrinking workforce.
Taiwan’s workforce, at the same time, is showing signs of “high export, low import,” signifying that more workers are moving abroad and fewer are coming back. White-collar professionals make up a large portion of those leaving the country to work abroad, reporting approximately 20,000 to 30,000 workers transferring abroad annually.
Statistics of foreigners working in Taiwan remain relatively unchanged for the past 10 years in comparison with the Taiwanese brain-drain, according to the Ministry of Labor.