As UK business continues its transformation into an increasingly digitally led environment, a whole new set of skills and expertise will be vital across all industries.
This has meant that in recent years the job market has been tougher than ever. And while the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) reveal employment has surged to a record 75.3 percent, as a result of the 400,000 jobs created in the past year alone, the UK is still seeing a looming skills gap. A gap that threatens to cost the economy an estimated £63 billion a year.
So how can organisations ensure they safeguard their businesses now and in the future? From collaboration between different industries to ensuring a leadership pipeline is put in place, here I explore a number of ways in which businesses of all sizes can work together to upskill both the current and future workforce.
Fostering talent early on
Historically, the responsibility for upskilling the next generation has landed on educational institutions. But a rapidly changing economy has meant that it’s never been more important for both private and public sector organisations to come together to promote the uptake of the relevant skills for the modern workplace.
That’s why the introduction of T-levels earlier this year was very much welcomed. A fundamental for the future of the UK economy, STEM and digital skills are no longer a nice-to-have. And as we move into the age of IoT, robotics and smart cities, this couldn’t be more of a business priority.
Collaboration between industry and education will prove essential to bridging the digital skills gap worldwide. As the generation penned to navigate the UK’s future, it is vital that we ensure investment at the very beginning, helping to better prepare the younger generation before they enter the workforce.
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Planning for a turbulent future
With businesses continuing to walk the tightrope of economic uncertainty, putting in place a strong, effective workforce plan can help organisations to identify and strategise how to tackle current, as well as future, talent and recruitment requirements.
Organisations should take a step back and think about the type of candidate experience they’re looking for and how they can be integrating the next generation into the workforce.
There has been a growing appreciation for the economic impact to a business when recruiting the wrong hire, and it’s clear that HR departments are under significant pressure to find the right talent for the business.
The age of digital disruption is seeing business models, industries and working practices transform, with jobs that didn’t exist a few years ago being created. This means there are increasing demands for new skill sets in virtually every job and profession. And, as a result, hiring and retaining workers who are agile and can adapt to the fast pace of change is and will be critical for staying ahead of the competition.
Fostering a leadership pipeline
To keep abreast of this digital wave, organisations must ensure they are going beyond just simply filling a seat by streamlining their recruitment and talent management strategies to support their long-term business development goals.
There has been a growing appreciation for the economic impact to a business when recruiting the wrong hire, and it’s clear that HR departments are under significant pressure to find the right talent for the business. Indeed, Research from Korn Ferry Hay Group revealed that replacing a manager within 6-12 months of their hire costs a business almost two and a half times the person’s annual salary.
Best in class talent acquisition teams will be those prepared with refreshed job profiles that look not only at the skills and experiences, but at the competencies, traits and drivers that is the right fit for not only the current job but also the business.
Upskilling employees by looking within
But what about the talent you already have? Businesses often think training employees is costly, disregarding the importance within the larger business model.
Considering different ways of further improving employees’ knowledge in different areas of the business can make a huge impact on staff retention and employee success. In most cases, businesses default to external – and often – expensive trainers to help up-skill its workforce.
With all the changes taking place around us, the time is now for talent acquisition professionals and business leaders to adopt a more strategic approach to the future and current workforce.
However, to deliver on this, organisations should look at putting in place centralised platforms that bring together data on employee performance and training. These can help better manage and facilitate the development of internal candidates – which includes identifying leaders or even function changes.
Boosting the UK’s workforce
With all the changes taking place around us, the time is now for talent acquisition professionals and business leaders to adopt a more strategic approach to the future and current workforce. While it’s encouraging to see certain steps being put in place to ensure our workforce is adequately equipped for the modern workplace, there are a still a number of things that we could all be doing better.
A strategic approach can ensure organisations will have the right employees to drive their future success. After all, those that neglect a forward-thinking approach will be the ones left struggling behind their competitors.
About Richard Shea
Richard Shea is Managing Director of EMEA Search at Futurestep.