Business Leaders Recognise Need For Skilled Talents

Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY), a global organisational consulting firm, recently conducted a study on Talent Shift to examine corporate attitudes towards talent availability, and reveal the extent to which business leaders are aware of imminent talent shortages, and what action they’re taking to mitigate them.

According to the study, Malaysia’s C-suite are cautious about skilled talent supply with 96 per cent stating they would need a higher proportion of skilled workers in the future. While an encouraging 88 per cent have a formal forecast for their future skilled talent needs.

The study also revealed that many leaders see talent challenges as cyclical instead of a permanent structural change, with only 16 per cent of those with a formal forecast planning through to 2030.

“C-suite leaders recognise that to survive in the future of work, their organisations will need a higher proportion of highly skilled workers. Scenario planning is critical to business
advancement but it is also now crucial for leaders to have a resilient ‘people plan’. As skilled workers become the lever of growth in the new economy, organisations must shift their mind-set to become more agile and adopt the long view when devising their talent strategy,” said Shahrizal Mohd Suffian, Senior Client Partner, Advisory, Korn Ferry Malaysia.

In addition, 84 per cent of Malaysian leaders agree that technology itself will create more jobs that can only be done by skilled workers. 57 per cent of leaders from high-growth companies recognise the potential impact that talent shortages will have on their profitability.

A recent report indicated that while only 14 per cent of jobs around the world are highly automatable, another 32 per cent of jobs could substantially change in response to technology . In this environment, skilled workers will become even more valuable especially for automation-resistant tasks related to creativity and ideation, social and emotional intelligence, diplomacy and negotiation.

“The explosion of technology has vastly hastened the pace of business development. Ever-
more sophisticated technology has created more demand for highly-skilled workers than it has consumed and this trend is likely to continue. Leaders need to recognise that human skills are the key to driving their businesses and take the view of tech-people partnership as the route to future success,” added Shahrizal.

As Malaysia is expected to face a shortage of 93,500 skilled workers by 2030, leaders intend to mitigate talent shortages through four main approaches – paying premium salaries to attract skilled workers; reconsidering where they focus their organisation’s growth strategy, investment and geographic footprint; making strategic business acquisitions with the objective of hiring  skilled talent; and extending careers or incentivising delayed retirement for skilled workers. However, given the scale of predicted talent shortages globally, misplaced optimism will make it significantly difficult with many organisations pursuing the same tactics.

The study recommends an innovative approach to fulfilling future skilled talent needs by
encouraging organisations to create their own highly skilled talent pipelines. For example,
organisations should consider attracting and training young people to be agile workers by
building in-house talent that does not traditionally follow an academic route. This approach will not only widen the talent pool for an industry, it will bring organisations together to control unsustainable salary rises that tend to follow talent shortages.

Companies can also consider creative approaches to staff development instead of linear,
traditional training and development programmes. The use of innovative modelling testing tools can help organisations to see potential and impartially identify employees that possess the aptitude and flexible mind-set needed to succeed in areas facing talent shortages. With this insight, companies can be better equipped to take varied methods to develop their talent.

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