skill gaps and shortages - staying ahead of future trends

03/11/2020

While the COVID-19 outbreak has shifted the labour demand dynamics in the short-term, the rapid adoption of technology creates a larger demand for technical and soft skills in the long-term. 

Through innovations like automation and artificial intelligence (AI), technology will transform future workplaces, ultimately bringing benefits like higher productivity and improved performance. Search engines and on-demand television are examples evident of the impact AI has had on businesses today. In fact, the World Economic Forum 2018 report discovered that by 2022, 58% of work will be performed by humans and 42% by machines or algorithms. 

The work machines can takeover isn't confined to the automated factories many of us think of. Professional work like accountancy, finance, and medical diagnosis may also begin to take on self-learning AI. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on the Australian workforce, and millions of employees have shifted to remote working. However, thanks to the emergence of cloud services, companies are no longer contained by physical boundaries. Staying connected through the cloud allows workforces to spread across cities and even around the globe. The cloud helped many companies stay productive remotely throughout the COVID crisis with a platform that supports different functions, whether it be conducting performance reviews, development projects, or evaluating applications in the recruitment process. 

A study by Gartner predicts that the global public cloud services market will expand from $175.8 billion in 2018 to $206.2 billion in 2020. 

Advancements in technology can give businesses of the future the power to keep up with innovation, competitors, and candidates' evolving needs. Such technology is also highly crucial in digital customer engagement and employee collaboration. 

Our research on in-demand skills reveals that tomorrow's jobs will include positions like artificial intelligence specialists, marketing automation specialists, and robotic engineers. New demands will consist of people who can judge the strategic potential of emerging technologies and manage new system capabilities. 

However, in-demand skill sets of the future go far beyond digital capabilities. As automation and AI become increasingly prevalent, soft skills will become equally valuable to the future of work. 

Innately human skills and capabilities, like creativity, empathy, intuition, emotional intelligence, leadership skills, attention to detail, and analytical thinking, will rapidly grow in demand. These are the skills that machines are yet to master. 

Work trends highlighted by the World Economic Forum regarding LinkedIn's research show that 92% of employers feel soft skills matter as much or even more than hard skills. 80% stated that soft skills are increasingly important to business success, especially when hard skills such as the cloud, AI, and other analytical software become more dominant and essential in modern businesses.  

Siemens' Global Director of Employer Branding, Christoph Knorn, said in an interview with Randstad, that solutions to sustainability and other challenges in today's communities can't depend on the work of technology systems alone. There will always be demands for human insight to ensure accuracy.

"Everything we do has a human dimension," he said. "We bring customers, creators, and developers together so we can learn and collaborate."

As businesses today continue to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on skills demands and adjust to the new normal, it is becoming increasingly important to prepare for future skills requirements and fully seize opportunities presented by these trends. There will be a need for organisation-wide upskilling and to remain adaptable in transferring new skills and embracing new ways of working.