Human solutions for a skills revolution

Human Solutions for a Skills Revolution
Developing the best blend of technical skills and soft skills is the solution to the Skills Revolution for individuals and employers alike. As technology transforms organisations, skills needs are changing rapidly and companies are struggling to find the talent they need.

ManpowerGroup’s report – Robots Need Not Apply: Human Solutions in the Skills Revolution – surveyed 20,000 employers across 42 countries on the anticipated impact of automation on headcount; the functions they expect to be most impacted; and the soft skills that are both of greatest value and hardest to find. The report finds that as companies go digital, in the near-term most will need more people, not fewer.

Eighty six percent of employers globally say their headcount will increase or remain flat in the next two years because of automation. Looking inside organisations, the impact varies by function: IT comes out on top as organisations invest in digital skills, and frontline and customer-facing functions follow close behind. In contrast, administrative and office functions expect the greatest decrease in headcount as a result of automation.

Overall, the rise in consumerism and the value companies now place on customer service is increasingly evident in the digital world, and human strengths are more valued than in the past. More than half of companies surveyed say communication skills, both written and verbal, are their most valued soft skill, followed by collaboration and problem solving.

Digitisation is happening at an unprecedented pace and every industry and function will be impacted. This is good news for people – providing they have the right skills mix to augment rather than compete with technology. Helping people upskill and future-proof themselves will be the defining challenge of our time. Identifying in-demand skills and providing access to employment is the solution for all of us in the Skills Revolution.

How to prepare for digital transformation

Steps organisations can take to prepare for digital transformation, changing business models and shifting skill needs:

  1. Hire for learnability
    Employers can no longer rely on a spot market for talent. We need people with learnability – the desire and ability to develop in-demand skills to be employable for the long-term. Employability today is less about what you already know and more about your capacity to learn. Encourage a culture of learnability to retain and attract the best talent. Find out more at:
  2. Identify relevant skillsets
    Set people up to succeed. Map out skill needs, then assess and identify candidates with adjacent skillsets – those skills that are closely connected and can be adapted to new roles. Build on proven talents and equip people to shift from traditional to digital skillsets.
  3. Develop digital leaders
    While 80% of leadership capabilities remain the same – adaptability, drive, endurance and brightness – a new style of leadership is required for the digital age. What got you here, won’t get you there. Leaders today must dare to lead and be prepared to fail fast. They need to nurture learnability, accelerate performance and foster entrepreneurialism. And, of course, they must unleash potential in others.

Transforming your workforce for the digital age has immense potential to create value for business, change consumers’ lives and unlock broader societal benefits – as long as leaders are ready. Transformation has to start at the top and leaders need to lead differently today than they may have done in the past. To get digital-ready, leaders should start by asking themselves:

  • Are we prepared for calculated risk and set up to fail fast? Are we agile and open to change, now and throughout the journey of transformation?
  • Are our processes informed by digital insights?
  • How ready are we to upskill for the digital age?
  • How can leaders combine the best of human and machine intelligence to create an inclusive, forward-thinking successful company in the digital age?

To download the full report, From C-Suite to Digital Suite: How to Lead Through Digital Transformation, visit:

This article first appeared in the eighth edition of The Human Age Newspaper.