PwC: implementing ‘human skills’ in industry

According to an employee survey conducted by PwC, only 41% of UK employees believe that their employers are providing them with relevant skills for work in the future.

Another survey – put to 1,246 business and HR leader from 79 approximately countries – outlined that 87% of companies believe human skills are critical for the future business. ‘Human skills’ such as adaptability, leadership, and creativity. Considering the speed with which industry is introducing change, such a skill-set is clearly essential.

However, PwC has revealed that only 33% of businesses who took part in the survey have been driving practices that lead to the development of these skills.

Alastair Woods, partner at PwC, said: “HR departments must lead the way in growing and building the capabilities the workforce of tomorrow will require. The impact of automation and robotics over the course of the decade will mean some tasks disappear, but new activities will emerge that rely on uniquely human skills like judgement, empathy, and innovation. To prepare for this change, HR teams must develop a thorough understanding of future needs and put in place the learning and development programmes and other tools like performance management to help and underpin this transition.”

The changing nature of the workplace is further accompanied by a general increase in the number of portfolio and contracted workers, as well as freelancers.

There has also been a rise in the number of developing partnerships between larger organisations with smaller start-ups. This means that there is a ready access to innovation and talent on demand for these larger companies.

These organisations are realising that it is increasingly important for them to learn and understand how to identify where and how to engage flexible talent. However, this has yet to be matched by a high enough percentage showcasing that action is actually being taken in order to do so.

Only 8% of global respondents to PwC’s survey strongly agreed that their organisations are able to engage easily with valuable resources as and when they are needed.

In their separate employee research, PwC discovered that 55% of 18 to 34-year-olds in the UK would consider working in the gig economy compared to less than 30% of those in older age groups. 18 to 34-year-olds have highlighted “greater control and flexibility as being positive aspects.”

“Firms need to think about how they embrace flexibility while ensuring workers get a fair deal,” Woods continued. “Businesses are missing a trick by ignoring the huge value gig economy workers could add to a company and are failing to invest in tapping into this workforce.

“HR has a role to play in preparing the organisation for growing numbers of gig workers and moving from a ‘one size fits all’ HR model. With attitudes changing, and gig working seen as a positive alternative employment model, it should fall to HR to design the recruitment, reward, and recognition elements that will attract gig workers and see them return.”

70% of business and HR leaders who partook in the PwC survey claimed that they had recognised that flexibility in the workplace is one of the most important inclusions for the younger generations who are moving into the field of employment. However, 45% of these employers currently give employees a “high degree of autonomy” and control when it comes to when and where they work.

Clearly, there is a disconnect between understanding how the work environment need to change and the implementation into industry process.

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