The future of work is increasingly about anticipating what’s coming next, innovations and how people will use new technologies. Digitalization, Mobility, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are fundamentally changing the way organizations engage with both their customers and their workforce. This means career trajectories are now far from linear and it is up to organizations to ensure their workforce is best prepared for these new technologies as they transform the workplace.
Digital Transformation will impact every aspect of the world of work. It’s a global megatrend that will affect, change and challenge every sector with an increasing pace. It is no longer enough to find talented workers to meet current skills demands – now organizations must look ahead to ensure they can compete effectively in an ever-changing digital economy. This means ensuring your workforce is agile, adaptable and engaged with transformation.
But, the rapid digitalization of most businesses today has led to a chronic shortage of skills to support this transformation. Despite evidence that companies with a digital transformation strategy are twice as likely to improve performance, staff retention and quality of hire, one in four firms still have no plans in place.
Responses suggest that the greatest barriers to advancing much-needed digital transformation requirements are a lack of skills, and yet employers are continuing to under-invest in training in a sector where the skills shortage is particularly acute. Hence, the world is facing a global talent crisis. An imminent skilled labour shortage is affecting both developed and developing economies, with the potential to drastically alter the balance of global economic power.
Nowhere is this skills drought more evident than in IT, where demand for talent already vastly outweighs supply. While many new initiatives and programmes are encouraging more students to pursue careers in science, technology maths and engineering (STEM), it’s clear that hiring new workers to plug this gap will not be an effective strategy for most organizations.
That’s not to say attracting and retaining the right talent won’t be crucial over the coming years, it will, more so than ever before. But the key to long-term success for many businesses will be providing their people with the opportunities to transition into roles that are more skilled, value-based and rewarding.
To remain competitive in an increasingly digital world, companies must transform the skills of their workforce, both on a macro level by determining the skills their market and clients are calling for, and on a micro-level, by showing employees the personal benefit to upskilling and offering experiences for them to do so.
The focus needs to be on preparing all employees – not just those currently specialising in IT – to work with new digital technologies. People will constantly need to acquire new skills that enable new ways of working, including collaboration with intelligent systems and machines.
This will be achieved through the following:
- Increasing investment and uptake in skills acquisition.
- Better identifying future skills requirements.
- Improving the provision of and access to quality training to support those future skills.
- Creating an agile skills development system able to respond to rapidly changing market needs.
- Creating a culture of lifelong learning and a more visible career pathway.
Many employees will not make this transition independently. It’s down to leadership teams to prepare them for the new opportunities that digital transformation will create. As job roles become increasingly value-based, moving from simple task execution to process improvement, employees will need to be upskilled to use automation to augment their roles and explore more creative styles of working.