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.

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