challenging times demand new approaches

In 2020, multiple generations working together will have different skills, experiences, habits, and motivations. All of this represents a major opportunity for employers and employees. But businesses are struggling with ways to manage talent, cultivate leadership, encourage learning, and understand their employees.

Balancing the experience of an ageing workforce with the skills of the millennial generation, and the different perceptions held by employees and company executives about priorities at work, are some of the key challenges facing Australian businesses, according to the Oxford Economics study, ‘Workforce 2020’.

According to the study, 46% of Australian employees get ample training on workplace technology, but only 26% are given access to the latest technology. Companies and workers are unprepared for the growing need for technology skills.  

There is also a disconnect between what the millennial generation thinks about work and the perceptions held about this generation by their employers. According to ‘Workforce 2020’, 41% of executives think millennials are frustrated with manager quality; and 38% think millennials will consider leaving their jobs due to lack of learning and development. There was no indication that the millennial respondents (who constituted 49% of employees questioned) held this view.

the role of skills development

Australia’s reliance on tried-and-tested technical and commercial skills to build talent pipelines has left some organisations with a lack of creative, visionary leaders comfortable with managing change in uncertain times. Underlying it all is the need to change old-fashioned mindsets.

While 61% of Australian executives say their company widely offers supplemental training programs to develop new skills, only 43% of employees feel their company provides a relevant portfolio of development training. The need for analytics skills will grow; 39% of employees expect to be proficient in three years, although just 15% meet this standard today.

Skills can be bolstered via training, outsourcing recruitment of niche, hard-to-find skills, or hiring an expert freelancer to coach your team in new disciplines or technologies. Indeed some HR professionals feel that skills are not the area of concern; it is the shallow pool of people with relevant experience, in these changing times, that is currently restricting businesses’ ability to grow.

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