Talent strategies not fit for fourth industrial revolution

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​Executives don't believe their organisations have the right talent to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution

Deloitte Global’s report, The Fourth Industrial Revolution is Here – Are You Ready?, surveyed 1,600 C-level executives across 19 countries, including 150 in the UK. It explored their readiness to capitalise on ‘Industry 4.0': defined by Deloitte as ‘the marriage of physical and digital technologies to benefit customers, employees, communities and other key stakeholders'.

Just a quarter (26%) of global respondents were found to be highly confident they have the right workforce composition and skills needed for the future. Just over half (53%) of UK respondents believed their existing workforce could be trained in the skills required.

As a result, 61% of executives globally and 72% in the UK envision their organisations making greater use of temporary or contract workers in future. Among UK executives, 63% said that the fourth industrial revolution will instigate a complete rethink of social and labour contracts. This compared to 56% globally.

The research also found that 92% of senior British business and government leaders believe the fourth industrial revolution will lead to greater economic and social equality.

However, executives doubted their ability to influence key societal factors that would help achieve this. The research found that only 17% of UK respondents believe they have the influence to deliver a level and fair marketplace, only 11% say they can influence environmental stability, and just 6% education and training.

David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte north-west Europe, said: “Senior executives in the UK share an optimism for the societal and economic changes that the fourth industrial revolution will bring, however this is yet to feed down into the way they utilise the skills and capabilities of their current workforce or support temporary employees.

“For stability to be felt, gig economy workers must be made to feel financially secure and confident in navigating traditional roles, while permanent employees will need to be supported in their adjustment to workplace automation. Organisations that embrace a new stance on how they support and develop all of their people will map a clearer path to a stable and equal future for all.”

Separate research published by Deloitte UK last week argued that companies must think differently about how they recruit. The Power Up: UK Skills report stated that transferable human skills have become increasingly prominent in driving UK employment growth. While technology will change the way we work, the ability to apply knowledge in different contexts and adapt transferable skills will become increasingly crucial, it said.

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