employees work workspace

Pic: WeWork

Fast-moving technology is causing a skilled worker deficit, employers find

IN a bid to keep up with technological advances and changing attitudes in the workplace, employers have had to adopt a myriad of new systems and softwares. Along with these new technologies came brand new roles that didn’t exist a decade ago, which employers have found themselves struggling to fill, according to a survey global report by multinational risk management and advisory company, Willis Tower Watson (WTW).

The report, titled ‘2016 Global Talent Management and Rewards and Global Workforce Studies‘, shows how employers must understand “emerging work options” along with the modernization of the workplace in order to stay relevant.

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Almost 70 percent of 2,000 organizations surveyed – representing nearly 21 million employees worldwide – said they used more work-related digital media now compared to the past three years.

As companies begin to embrace digital platforms and systems, be it for collaboration, process automation, productivity, or communication, the report says that this disruption is manifesting itself in a deficit of skilled workers in science and technology areas while also creating a surplus of workers who formerly took up roles in administration and manufacturing.

Closing the skills gap

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This trend has been developing for some time – in 2012, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute concluded that globally, there could be a surplus of up to 95 million low-skilled workers and a shortage of the same number for high to medium-skilled workers by 2020.

The report said at the time: “The polarization of incomes between high- and low-skilled workers could become even more pronounced, slowing the advance in national living standards, and increasing public-sector burdens and social tensions.”

To counter this issue, the WTW report suggests implementing a ‘pay-for-performance’ program, in which employers give incentives to employees based on their performances, which are monitored and managed closely.

Employees in emerging economies most difficult to retain

Globally, companies face challenges in attracting and retaining talents, but more so in emerging economies such as India, China, and Indonesia than anywhere else.

A total 66 percent of the organizations surveyed by WTW found difficulties in attracting employees possessing “critical skills”, with around 77 percent indicating they face hurdles in attracting high-potential and top-performing employees.

In terms of retention, 41 percent of organizations report difficulties in general. This trend could point towards a disconnect between what employers value versus what employees value, particularly when it comes to job security.

For example, the top three global drivers of attraction according to employers are career advancement opportunities, base pay and salary, and the working environment of the organization.

However, employees paint a different picture of what really matters to them, which includes base pay and salary, job security, and career advancement opportunities in that order.

If employers fail to understand and re-conciliate the difference in values, this could lead to a considerable turnover risk. According to the report, only 41 percent of employees globally agreed they would stay with their current employers over the next two years by choice.

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Use technology to improve your EVP

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Enhancing the company’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) could work wonders in giving employees more incentives to stay and build the company. WTW suggests using certain technologies which allow you to run the company more efficiently from every aspect.

Adopting HR software such as SmartHR by Kufu, Kronos Workforce Central, or BambooHR can help organizations recruit the right people as well as ensure that new employees reach their full potentials faster. About 70 percent of employers surveyed said they already had a system in place, with 20 percent saying they plan to implement one soon.

The report also suggests making full use of social media for brand-building. It noted that only 46 percent of employers post company-related content other than job advertisements on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. The sooner companies realize how social media can work to their advantage in terms of brand awareness, the more they can work on online appearances to attract potential candidates.

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