Germany’s talent shortage

Yesterday we hosted a webinar around the Germany-specific findings for our Workforce 2020 research (you can check out Germany’s fact sheet here).

Our data shows that German executives are more concerned than their peers in other countries about shortages of skilled talent and are more likely to say difficulty recruiting employees with base-level skills is an issue. This problem extends past entry-level jobs and into leadership positions—42% of German executives say a lack of adequate leadership is a major impediment to meeting workforce goals, compared with 34% of global respondents.

On a more positive note, German companies are also slightly better prepared to meet workforce challenges. In fact, 43% of executives in Germany say they are making good or significant progress toward meeting workforce goals—well ahead of the global total (34%). And while their use of metrics and benchmarking also suggests more maturity than other countries, like the rest of the world, Germany still has far to go when it comes to workforce strategies.

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Training the workforce of the future

Our Workforce 2020 surveys show that companies are having a hard time finding employees with the right skills. For example, the need for skills in areas like analytics, cloud, and programming/development will grow sizably over the next three years, but less than half of employees expect to be proficient with most of these key technologies in that time. And abilities in vital specialties such as cloud and mobile lag compared to other technologies like programming/development and job-specific software.

Technology skills

This is a large-scale issue; in fact, US Vice President Biden recently published a report on federal education, workforce, and training programs that emphasizes the need for strong skills development opportunities.

In order to develop the technology skills they need within their organization, companies will have to focus more on supplying the right technology and training to their employees. Currently, less than half of employees say their company provides ample training on the technology they need, and less than one-third say their company makes the latest technology available to them.

AI a potential threat to employees in Japan

Japan is in the news this week for its plans to invest heavily in robotics. The country currently uses approximately 300,000 robots, and plans to push that number up to one million by 2025.

The country hopes to address a growing national problem: a shrinking workforce population. (The country has other plans in the works, too, including one to boost women’s participation in the labor force.) Japan also hopes to reassert its dominance in robotics.

While Japan may see AI as part of the cure for its national labor force issues, employees may not be thrilled with this prospect. Our employee survey shows that 52% of workers in Japan say their position changing or becoming obsolete is a top job concern—that’s well ahead of the global total (40%).

Like most technologies, AI will significantly alter the nature of work across the world, and employees should be prepared to reevaluate how they fit in to the new workplace.

Employees’ number one concern? Obsolescence.

When we asked our employee respondents what concerned them most about their job, fully 40% said their top concern was their position changing or becoming obsolete—far more than the number who answered economic uncertainty or layoffs.

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What’s more, employees don’t feel confident that they are developing the skills that will be needed in years to come, and very few say their company is helping.

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These findings caught the eye of Josh Bersin, founder and Principal of Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. You can see his post, which expands on the problem of skills obsolescence and offers some recommendations to employees looking to reinvent themesleves, on LinkedIn.

Among his tips? Take the initiative to develop your skills, whether through reading, going to conferences, talking with experts, and watching online videos. While being in charge of our own development may not be ideal for some employees, it may be one of the only ways to ensure continuous learning and development.

Employee education and the skills gap

Job descriptions are changing fast. Employees need new skills to keep up as technology evolves and new ways of doing work—even the threat of being replaced by artificial intelligence—loom. Employee respondents to our massive global survey are concerned with their own obsolescence and want opportunities for development and a clear career path—that goes for Millennials and non-Millennials alike.  

Executives are also worried about the growing skills gap—many say it is difficult to find employees with base-level and specialized skills. Despite their concern, our survey results point to a lack of understanding and effort from strategy-setters when it comes to investing time, resources, and technology in training and development for employees—executives and employees both report limited opportunities for skills development.

Investment in training and development will be increasingly important as the skills companies need become increasingly advanced and technology-based—just one of the changes that is sure to come in the 2020 workforce.  

Finding—and keeping—top talent

According to our survey, the need for employees with technology skills in areas like analytics, cloud, and programming will increase over the next three years. What does it take to attract top talent that meets companies’ increasingly tech-based needs?

A recent article from CIO magazine talks about some of the ways tech firms are trying to recruit elite developers. The top tactic? Money—and at many companies (mostly those based in New York and Silicon Valley), a lot of it.

What will happen if compensation turns out to be only a temporary fix for retaining talent? How important is personal satisfaction with work when the excitement over creative perks and compensation wanes?

Our survey looks at these issues and more—we’ll have answers about the benefits that matter most to employees, along with data on what companies are actually offering, in the next few weeks.

2020 Workforce news roundup

Debunking the myth that jerk bosses get results (FastCompany): Bosses like Steve Jobs and Gordon Ramsey earned notoriety for their harsh treatment of employees—and plaudits for getting results. This article argues that such leaders are successful in spite of, not because of, their attitudes.

The skills leaders need at every level (Harvard Business Review): When HBR asked 332,860 bosses, peers, and subordinates what skills are most important to a leader’s success, the top qualities were very consistent, suggesting that the core competencies required of leaders do not change as they move up the corporate ladder. Developing those traits throughout your career, and always preparing for the skills you’ll need at the next level, may be a key to success.

Employees using social media before making any career move (The Economic Times): A new Kelly Services report says that employees are increasingly using social media to learn specifics about companies, including workplace conditions and reputation, before putting in applications.

Millennials at Work: Young and Callow, Like Their Parents (The New York Times): Many think that Millennials are unprepared, lazy, and difficult to manage—but that doesn’t make them any different from the generations that preceded them.