We’re in the midst of a Skills Revolution. Technology is transforming organisations, in-demand skills are rapidly changing, and organisations can’t find the talent they need.
At ManpowerGroup, we’re committed to being part of the skills solution. We do this by conducting market research, embedding workforce strategies and running training programmes that progress talent.
Skills Revolution Reboot: The 3 Rs – Renew, Reskill, Redeploy is our latest report in the Skills Revolution series, for which we surveyed 26,000 employers in 43 countries to understand how organisations are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’re facing one of the worst talent shortages in the UK out of any country in our survey, with three-quarters (or 77%) of employers finding they can’t find the right people to fill roles. This skills gap has accelerated as a result of the pandemic; sadly there has been a great deal of new entrants to the jobseekers’ market, and not all with the right skills to meet the needs of a post-pandemic workforce – many people are not equipped with the right skills to meet the challenges of today, while organisations aren’t attracting and developing the skills they need the most. There is an urgent need for employers to renew, reskill and redeploy their workers.
Contrary to popular belief, digitisation is creating jobs
Propelled by the pandemic, many organisations are focused on digitising and automating their operations at speed and scale, with many of those organisations feeling optimistic about recruitment too. In the UK, more jobs are being created than eliminated, with 84% of those intent on automating also planning to increase or maintain their headcount – these are typically larger organisations of 250+ employees.
However, 61% of UK employers said that the pandemic has had no impact on their plans to digitise and automate.
Most of these are smaller organisations who have also scaled back their hiring plans. Given that the World Economic Forum reported that by 2025, humans and machines will split work-related tasks 50:50, those smaller firms may start to lag behind and struggle to compete for customers and talent.
In-demand skills are transforming
Alongside the progression of organisations’ technical capabilities, the skills most needed are rapidly transforming too. The recent shift to remote working means soft skills like collaboration, communication and adaptability are in highest demand, yet only 22% of UK organisations are investing in soft skills training. These employers report that identifying and developing soft skills is far more challenging than teaching technical skills. And although technical skills count for a lot, it’s these human skills that build employability and resilience over the long term.
But companies are recognising the importance of continuous learning and the need to equip their workforce with learning opportunities, enabling them to embrace new tasks, remain resilient in times of change, and respond to the needs of today and tomorrow. Not only that, but training initiatives will support an employee’s appetite for learning and development – they want easily accessible and relevant content.
Becoming part of the solution
Within the last year, around 11.5 million people were furloughed in the UK and redundancy rates rose faster during the pandemic than they did in the 2008-09 economic downturn. Those people have talent, experience and skills to offer, but they may need some of their skills renewing or redeploying to re-enter the workforce. That need for skills development also holds true for employees unaffected by the events of the last 12 months: they too need to be continually learning to meet the challenges of an ever-changing landscape.
Helping people to upskill and reskill for in-demand roles remains the defining challenge of this decade. It was important before the pandemic and even more critical now – to create a better and more equitable workplace where everyone is able to unleash their full human potential.
Chairman and CEO, ManpowerGroup
When skills needs are changing faster than ever and talent is at a premium, organisations need refreshed talent and workforce development strategies to attract, develop, engage and retain the best talent in this next phase of the Skills Revolution. As we emerge from the pandemic, we’re calling on more employers to Renew, Reskill and Redeploy workers.
This article was originally published in the 12th Edition of the Human Age newspaper – get your copy here.