CEOs see ‘skills short­age’ as their big­gest threat to growth

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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