How to Evolve Talent Strategies During Workforce Automation

2 minute read

The velocity at which technological shifts are occurring is transforming labor markets. The skills gap we predicted more than a decade ago is worsening, accelerating a global talent shortage and threatening productivity, sustainability and growth.

The skills revolution is in full swing.

Now, more than ever, technical skills are hard to find and soft skills are hard to train. To remain competitive, organizations need to shift their talent strategies and find new and alternative ways to resource, develop, motivate and retain the in-demand talent for skills they need.

Individuals also need to be aware of the changing landscape and be ready to nurture their ability to learn and evolve their skills so they stay employable for the long-term in today’s digitally-led market.

Organizations Are Investing in Digital, Shifting Tasks to Robots, and Creating Jobs

We asked more than 19,000 employers in 44 countries about the impact of automation on job growth within their organizations in the next two years. The key findings from our research show:

  • More employers than ever (87%) plan to maintain or increase headcount as a result of automation for the third consecutive year.

  • Organizations that are automating are creating the most jobs—24% plan to create more jobs in two years.

  • Upskilling is on the way up. In 2011, just 21% of employers planned to upskill people to overcome gaps. By 2020, that's projected to rise to 84%.

Our new report: "Humans Wanted: The Robots Need You" not only provides a real-time view of how automation is changing the way organizations operate, it also explores the ways employers are building, borrowing, buying and bridging between roles to overcome talent shortages:

  • Build – Invest in learning and development to grow talent pipelines and upskill existing workforce. Better people analytics mean employers can map and upskill their existing and potential workforce unlike before. Employers must emphasize that continuous learning is a two-way proposition: essential for individuals to make better career decisions and stay employable, and critical for companies to develop the talent they need.

  • Buy – Leverage the external labor market to find the best talent that cannot be built in-house in the timeframe required to fill immediate openings. In a tight labor market, employers must work hard to attract talent with a strong employee value proposition, clear purpose and attractive culture. Employers need to understand that candidates are consumers too; in order to entice and engage the best and brightest, HR needs to be a master marketer.

  • Borrow – Cultivate communities of talent including part-time, freelance, contract and temporary workers to complement existing workforce. HR has traditionally been focused on permanent employees inside the company but borrowing talent, including contractors or temporary workers, offers solutions to those looking to plug skills gaps quickly. Organizations must learn to nurture communities of workers inside and outside of the company.

  • Bridge – Help people move on and move up to new roles. Transformation, digitization and automation has created an environment where new skills emerge as fast as others become obsolete. Leaders have a critical job to optimize the skills they have and find alternative pathways so those whose skills no longer fit can bridge to changing or emerging roles beyond the company.

Interested in comparing your organization’s digital transformation against benchmark research? Our Digital Evolution Pathway assessment has been designed to provide a real-time view of your organization and processes during your organization’s digital transformation.

Demand for tech and digital skills is growing across all functions; employers are placing increasing value on human skills as automation scales and machines prove better at routine tasks.

In a vast majority of countries surveyed, more companies are planning to grow or maintain rather than shrink their workforce. Robots are helping to boost productivity and proving critical to economic growth. Failure to invest risks missing out on creating wealth and jobs.

Now is the time to equip people with the skills they need today and those they will need to stay employable tomorrow.

Return to Future of Work and Skills


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