Skills Gap: Are you ready for the Future of Work? (4 minute read)

Shameless plug today, and with good reason: the imminent workforce skills gap.

New research was released this week, from Korn Ferry, about Australia’s woeful preparedness for future workforce demands in relation to highly skilled workers.

According to the report, it’s estimated that Australia looks likely to be short almost 740,000 skilled workers, by 2020. That’s just one year away. This talent deficit is expected to reach an estimated 2.2million skilled workers by 2030.

When the data is interpreted in respect of lost revenue, the impact starts to really hit home. By 2020 it will equate to over $228 billion, in unrealised revenue; by 2030, it reaches $862billion.

Skills gap much? You got it…..really confronting numbers.

And where is our shameless plug, you ask?

Well, consider this: Ardent Partners estimates the current global workforce to be made up of 40% contingent talent. In Australia, we anticipate reaching that number by 2020 (again, only a year away).

So what we’re left with here is a likely diabolical critical mass: the rising predilection of talent to work as non-permanent, non-traditional, non-employee (or ‘contingent’), and the growing gap in workforce skills – companies are simply not heeding signals from the market, with all its fluctuations and changes, as they happen, right now.

So here comes the plug

If organisations were to strategically audit, engage, manage, assess, and use data from their well-oiled contingent workforce machine, they’d be more than halfway there, in mitigating the pain of a future talent shortage. You see, if the contingent population is managed by a credible, experienced, well-informed industry provider (like CXC Global), the partnership would address three key pain points for the organisation:

  • Access to talent: a quality talent pool (no more skills gap)
  • Cost exposure of engaging contingent workers
  • Risk exposure of engaging contingent workers

In addition, the partnership would provide organisations with market trends and changes that are likely to impact them; data that’s recent, relevant, and most often, unique.

It’s difficult to stress how important it is for business to have a plan in place, to effectively and productively manage contingent workers. This will set a plan in place not only for better access to skilled talent, but also, for a focused initiative to forecast and act upon future talent needs. This is a key competitive advantage, if acted upon today. A smart strategy that, it appears, many organisations aren’t addressing.

As the prominence of contingent workers grows, so too does the need to better manage them, if organisations are to avoid inflated costs of acquiring specialist, skilled workers (the price hike happens because they can’t find talent when they need them, and there’s increasing rarity of some skills). The very existence of organisations will, in fact, be on the line in this respect, if they don’t get it right.

The guys from Korn Ferry put it best:

Korn Ferry Quote

The research also suggests that, by failing to “forecast, develop and evolve” their approach to talent management, organisations are looking at arriving in the future workplace, ill-prepared with zero time to make up lost ground. It’s a very scary prediction.

Another point from the research that sticks: the impact of technology. From Korn Ferry, it looks like Australian business leaders misinterpret the impact of technology and automation, believing these will plug labour gaps: it’s simply not the case.

The research finds that more than half of Australia’s business leaders believe there is enough talent and that technology is the actual greatest creator of value, whereas the research suggests that people will add US$1trillion more to the global economy than capital, including technology.

The conclusion we’ve reached is this: now, more than ever, get your talent house in order. As contingent worker numbers grow, get them managed with a smart, strategic partner. And concurrently, think about your total talent management strategy, and how your business can be ready for the skills gap onslaught.

Thoughts? Let us know in the comments….

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