CEOs see ‘skills shortage’ as their biggest threat to growth
CEOs are now finding it so difficult to find people with the right skills to grow their business that three quarters of the 1,300 interviewed in 77 countries by PwC rank ‘skills shortage’ as the biggest threat to their business.
This represents a ten percentage point jump from 2014 and is up from less than half (46%) six years ago. CEOs in Japan and South Africa are the most concerned – over 9 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%), Hong Kong (85%), UK (84%) and Romania (84%). In Cyprus, 35% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills and 80% state that they now look for a much broader range of skills when hiring than they did in the past.
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 mergers and acquisition (M&As), 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.
“The digital age has transformed the skills shortage from a nagging worry for CEOs into something more challenging,” explained Jon Andrews, leader of PwC’s global people and organisation practice.
“Businesses are faced with a complex and shifting world where technology is driving huge changes. They desperately need people with strong technology skills that are adaptable and can work across different industries, but these people are hard to find and they can afford to charge a premium for their skills,” Andrews said.
“Organisations can no longer continue to recruit people as they’ve always done – they need to be looking in new places, geographies and from new pools of talent. Businesses also need to make use of data to understand exactly what skills they need, and where they will need them, to focus their future hiring efforts.”