A new global survey released by Harmonics has established the most important skills and the roles most at risk due to automation.
Harmonics, the Irish arm of global human resources consulting firm OI Global Partners (OIGP), has released the results of its third annual proprietary survey of global leaders from the 28 countries in which OIGP operates.
The survey sought to establish the skills employees must have to be competitive today, the most significant ‘people’ challenges currently facing organisations and the most effective ways to develop talent.
OIGP spoke to talent managers and HR professionals from more than 1,000 organisations, almost double the response compared to last year. Those surveyed represent a broad spectrum of industries, primarily those in technology and financial services sectors. There were also representatives from manufacturing, non-profits, hospitals and healthcare, and education. Of the participants, 10pc were from Ireland.
Leadership agility and the ability to be collaborative rose to the top as two of the most important skills for the employee of the future to have. Leadership agility is defined as “the ability to take effective action in complex, rapidly-changing conditions” – essentially, it’s all about being able to adapt to your environment as it changes.
“There is a direct correlation between the number-one most valued skill and one of the key people challenges that organisations are facing: adapting to change,” said John Fitzgerald, managing director of Harmonics.
“The speed of change in the global economy means employers are almost always in a restructuring and change mode. Every organisation now wants agile people as they are more likely to adapt to change.”
Meanwhile, finance and accounting were found to be the roles most at risk. The survey notes that the risk to these roles, or perceived risk, shot up dramatically since last year. Administration and support staff were also flagged as a risk, which aligns with last year’s results for the survey as well other research on the future of work. As organisations become flatter and less hierarchal, middle management is also at risk of taking a serious hit.
“The decline of routine, repetitive work continues apace as a result of automation and AI,” Fitzgerald added. “This is hitting both high- and low-skill occupations. An eagerness to learn, and indeed relearn, has never been more necessary for those whose roles are at risk.”
The global survey can be downloaded in full at the Harmonics website.