CEOs lament skills shortage
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, CEOs are now finding it so difficult to find people with the skills they need to grow their business, that three quarters of the 1300 CEOs interviewed rank skills shortage as the biggest threat to their business.
This represents a 10 per cent jump from 2014 and is up from less than half (46 per cent) six years ago.
CEOs in Japan and South Africa are the most concerned –more than nine in 10 of those surveyed say the availability of key skills is a threat to their organisation’s growth prospects, and is closely followed by China (90 per cent), Hong Kong (85 per cent), New Zealand (84 per cent), UK (84 per cent), and Romania (84 per cent).
To solve the talent conundrum, CEOs are increasing their use of contingent workers, part time employees, outsourcing and service agreements to fill their talent gaps.
They are also looking for a wider mix of skills than in the past and are searching for talent in different geographies, industries or demographic segments.
Filling talent gaps is also a major driver of M&A activity, with over a quarter of CEOs saying that access to top talent is the main reason for collaborating with other organisations.
This is creating a ‘gig economy’, where workers with the most in demand skills can dictate where and when they work, and who they work for.
“Organisations are globally are struggling more than ever to find the right people with the right skills to achieve their growth plans. The digital age has transformed the skills shortage from a nagging worry for CEOs into something far more challenging, ” says Scott Mitchell, PwC partner and business adviser.
Despite rising business confidence and ambitious hiring plans, businesses are faced with a complex and shifting world where technology is driving huge changes.
“People with strong technology skills that can adapt and work across different industries are desperately needed, but these people are difficult to find and can afford to charge a premium for their skills. New places, geographies and new pools of talent must be looked at – organisations can’t afford to recruit people as they’ve always done,” said Mitchell.
Businesses feel that the Government has an important role to play in solving the skills gap – six in 10 CEOs globally said creating a skilled and adaptable workforce should be a top priority for government.
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