CEOs Worried about Availability of Key Skills

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Obinna Chima

The digital age is promising exciting new ways to work and create value, a report has stated.

However, the new skills required to thrive in this new era are in short supply, forcing companies to examine their workforce capabilities.

According to PwC’s latest CEO survey, 38 per cent of CEOs globally said they’re extremely concerned about the availability of key skills as a threat to business growth.

It’s a consequence of living in an era when employers estimate that a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will change by 2020, the report noted.

“To meet the promise of this age, mid-career upskilling and transition must be a critical focus for both companies and individuals now.

“Gone are the days when you can roll out one-size-fits-all training programs and expect to see results. To be effective, the experience needs to be as individualized as each worker and as dynamic as the evolving roles.

“And advances need to come faster, with significant buy-in from those who will ultimately be responsible for skills: employees,” the survey added.

It pointed out that understanding what skills organization needs—both for today and tomorrow— should be the first step intransforming an organisation.

“Your organization is moved by the skills that you have,” the CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that monitors skills in the workforce in real time, Matthew Sigelman explained.

“The evolution of individuals in a company ultimately translates to the evolution of a company.”

Furthermore, it pointed out that with the Human Resources function increasingly relying on data and predictive analytics for recruiting and performance management, HR professionals need technical competencies plus business acumen and communication skills.

These hybrid roles work across domains and generally demonstrate competency in three areas: Business and science skills; human or soft skills; and technology skills.

“To compete and thrive in this era, CEOs need individuals who have all three sets of skills. But where do you find these rare superstars? While CEOs are concerned about the availability of digital skills in their workforce, they continue to acknowledge that soft skills are also vital, and just as hard to find.

“Companies winning the skills battleground are those that focus on the human experience while investing in technology, and can attract people who function well in multi-disciplinary teams and influence others across the organisation,” it added.