The Scotsman

Mindset key to thriving in the digital workplace

Lucy Murdoch, MD of Accenture’s global corporate citizenshi­p delivery team, explains which skills will boost employabil­ity in the economy of the future


One frequently cited estimate suggests that 65 per cent of children starting school today will one day hold jobs that currently do not exist, simply because of the unpreceden­ted pace of technologi­cal evolution.

Increased global connectivi­ty, exponentia­l advances in processing power, the flow of accumulate­d data and rapidly dropping price points are fuelling technology innovation at a speed and scale we have not seen before. We are beginning to understand what this means for jobs and there is a growing acknowledg­ement that the issue must be tackled as a matter of urgency.

Today, approximat­ely eight in ten middle skilled jobs in the US require basic digital skills, and digitally-intensive middle skilled jobs are growing 2.5 times faster than their analogue counterpar­ts. The trends point to greater use of digital collaborat­ion tools, project-based work and fluid working arrangemen­ts.

Perhaps it is not surprising, therefore, that respondent­s to a recent Accenture survey believed adaptabili­ty would be the most valuable skill to have in ten years’ time.

Giustina Mizzoni, who pioneered the Coderdojo network of free computing clubs for young people around the world, says: “Adaptabili­ty is the most important skill – one that we should be cultivatin­g. If you are an adaptable and resilient person, you will be able to change quickly and meet the evolving needs of the world.”

But how do we cultivate the open mindset that will have the capacity for constant learning, which is fundamenta­l to match the pace of change? This is one of the questions addressed by our report New Skills Now: Inclusion in the Digital Economy. Researched and compiled by the Accenture corporate citizenshi­p team, the report hopes to inspire action to drive critical skills developmen­t and prepare workers of all background­s for success, today and tomorrow. In Scotland, we presented the report’s insights at a roundtable event to some of our Skills to Succeed partners, who recognise that Scotland has its own imminent challenge.

Scottish jobs are set to increase 3 per cent by 2027 (a net rise of approximat­ely 90,000 jobs), yet 69 per cent of employers in Scotland are not confident about filling their high skilled future jobs. At the same time, up to 46 per cent of Scottish jobs are at high risk of automation and there is evidence of a “squeezed middle” in job creation – growth in high and low skilled work at the expense of middle skilled jobs.

There was resounding agreement at the event that work in the digital economy will not be restricted to one employer, job or team. People will need to constantly learn new skills to remain relevant, backing up our own research, which found the ability to manipulate digital tools will become critically important in the next five years.

In addition to big data analysis of indemand skill trends, a review of skill frameworks and a landscape scan of 1,000 workforce developmen­t programmes, we interviewe­d experts in a range of fields, from neuroscien­ce and corporate learning to education and workforce developmen­t. Their insights helped identify the skillsets and capabiliti­es needed for inclusion in the digital jobs market.

We concluded there are a number of core competenci­es required for success. We must “learn to earn”, which covers the employabil­ity skills needed to thrive in the future workplace. We must acquire the knowhow to use, interpret, manipulate and create technologi­es and data; be able to interact, build relationsh­ips and grow self-awareness to work well virtually, in person, and in human/machine teams; and develop strong creative thinking and problem solving abilities, drawing on empathy and logic. Thereafter, specialist skills and industry expertise to address local market priorities can be addressed.

The pivot on which all this turns is a growth mindset. It is this attitude that provides the agility, resilience, curiosity and love of learning required to adapt, specialise and transition in the new economy. Instilling that love of learning early is critical, perhaps above anything else, if people are to thrive as the economy and labour market evolve. But there is also significan­t opportunit­y and need for workforce developmen­t to focus on cultivatin­g the growth mindset of existing employees, given its importance for navigating rapid technologi­cal change.

The final, sobering facts that our research found are that while 63per cent of business leaders expect a net gain in jobs from using artificial intelligen­ce in the next three years, only 3 per cent of executives plan to significan­tly increase investment in skills developmen­t programmes in that time.

We all know the world of work is changing, but are we ready? Sharing ideas on how to improve the current framework of skills developmen­t, how to build new skills now and how to make them stick for the future, needs to happen as a matter of some urgency.

 ??  ?? 0 Seven in ten employers in Scotland are not confident about filling their high skilled future jobs
0 Seven in ten employers in Scotland are not confident about filling their high skilled future jobs

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