What skills will future-proof your workforce?

Digital technology is affecting all types of business at great speed. Automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things...

Andy Bristow
Andy Bristow
4 min read Reading Time
4 December 2019 Date Created

Digital technology is affecting all types of business at great speed. Automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are among the many elements impacting businesses now, and with the speed at which new tech develops, it’s reasonable to anticipate that things we aren’t even aware of now will become big issues in the not too distant future.

Chances are, no matter what your core business is, you are already dealing – possibly struggling – with this situation. It’s been reported that over two-thirds of UK businesses are unable to recruit staff with the digital skills they need, and around the same number expect this to continue over the next three to five years.

While this might be great news for technology jobseekers, it’s probably not so great for the businesses who need them. So, what approach should businesses and individuals take to IT recruitment in order to thrive in the new landscape, and what skills are needed? Here are five suggestions.

1. Embrace and welcome automation and artificial intelligence

There’s no doubt that automation and AI has had and will continue to have a big impact, so there’s no point in trying to avoid it. Instead, look for the opportunities inherent in the changes those technologies will bring and identify how to use them to your advantage.

2. Reskill and upskill staff

It’s estimated that by 2020 digital competencies will be essential to four-fifths of jobs, but that there is a huge gap between the demand and the supply for such workers. The willingness and ability to reskill and upskill has to be inherent in workers, if they are to succeed in a climate of continuous change. People who realise this will look for companies prepared to support and invest in their development. It’s a symbiotic win-win situation.

3. Clear communication is essential

In a world that changes rapidly, language, meaning and levels of understanding also change. At a bare minimum, you need to be able to communicate effectively with staff and stakeholders, and staff need to be able to communicate with each other, suppliers and customers. Things that feed into this are the ability to ask the right questions, listen to the answers, negotiate and collaborate.

4. Cybersecurity is critical

We hold more digital data than ever before, and the level of data held is only going to increase. The list of companies that have been hit by data breaches is long and varied, and the impact on both the companies and their customers can be long-lasting. Cybersecurity is an essential element of doing business in a digital age, and it’s a constant learning curve as new threats emerge and new ways of combating them are developed.

5. Encourage creativity

Automation and AI can do many things … but they can’t be as creative as a person (yet). Creativity in this context means joining the dots and understanding things in a non-linear fashion, to arrive at a solution or a proposal that is new in nature.

Putting it all together …

Finding someone who is flexible and adaptable might be more important than finding the one person who has a specific skill now. Look for people willing to embrace continuous learning, and be prepared to invest in their training and development.

If you are looking for candidates with specialist skills and the ability to learn in order to future-proof your workforce, we can help. Our expert team has the skills and knowledge to know where to find and how to attract the most appropriate candidates throughout Suffolk, Norfolk, Ipswich and Norwich. Contact us today to see how we can help you.