Are your employees prepared for digital transformation? Source: Shutterstock

The talent challenge: Rebalancing skills for the digital age

EMERGING technologies are exciting.

You’ve got artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI and ML), augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), cloud computing and big data analytics, the internet of things, robotics and robotic process automation, and so many other advancements that can transform a business – but it’s all just mumbo-jumbo to most executives.

In order to make the most of the technologies, businesses must make sure they train their staff appropriately and hire new talent to fill any knowledge gaps, in order to leverage and capitalize on new opportunities.

According to a recent report by PwC, CEOs are increasingly worried about the speed of technological change: 76 percent see it as a threat to their growth prospects with 38 percent extremely worried (up from 29 percent 12 months ago).

They know they need to move further,  and to do that, they need to hire – faster.

Finding and hiring employees with the key skills they need to succeed in the digital world continues to keep CEOs awake at night says PwC. Eighty percent of CEOs say they’re worried (up from 77 percent in 2017), and 38 percent are extremely concerned (up from 31 percent in 2017).

Asian CEOs, however, tend to worry more about the talent crunch than their US and UK counterparts.

PwC’s survey found that 94 percent Chinese CEOs and 93 percent of Japanese CEOs were worried about the availability of key (digital) skills as compared to 83 percent of CEOs in the UK, and 78 percent of CEOs in the US.

As the management consulting business identifies, the ultimate prize for today’s firms seeking to make headway with technology are those workers with the critical skills that organizations need to drive automation.

Professionals with such capabilities can make an outsized contribution to their organization.

Finding and keeping these important people will be a big challenge. They’re hard to find and difficult to keep.

As a result, organizations need to pay careful attention to the employee value proposition they create and the employee experience they offer.

The fact is, a majority of CEOs want to recruit more people and they’re concerned about finding and keeping workers with the right skills. That should send a message to HR professionals across the world.

What message? Well, HR people need to take action to put their CEOs at ease by offering to train existing employees, and trying to influence the perception of the organization so as to attract new and dynamic digital professionals.

PwC’s insights suggest that CEOs are looking for support and guidance from HR, in turn, HR needs to take a leap into the future. In order to do, that HR professionals need an in-depth understanding of advancing technology and its possibilities.

The opportunities out there are massive and it’s all available exclusively to businesses that not only know about the emerging technologies we’ve discussed but can also explore how to use them to (creatively) overcome business obstacles.