There’s a talent crisis looming. New Korn Ferry research predicts that skilled labour shortages could reach 85.2 million workers by 2030. This isn’t just an organisational issue, it could threaten the GDP of nations as key global markets and sectors flounder.

It should be keeping business leaders up at night, but it’s not, because most are seemingly unaware of the challenges that lie ahead.

Misplaced optimism

There’s no doubt that leaders know the importance of their people in achieving business goals: 84% of corporate leaders told us that to survive in the future of work, their company will need more highly skilled workers as a proportion of its workforce. The concern is that most are overly optimistic about meeting their talent needs. Our research suggests this confidence is misplaced.

The difference this time is that the changes to the talent market are structural, not cyclical. There are workers available, but there simply isn’t enough of them with the skills needed to successfully deal with today’s challenges, let alone those coming tomorrow. Without a major shift in talent practices, this skills shortage is likely to only increase.

The great tech distraction

Compounding the issue is the fact that 74% of business leaders believe technology will take over from people as the greatest value creator by 2030. The compounding effect arises from the widely-held belief that technology will make many roles obsolete.

While the extent to which technology can displace people continues to be debated, the truth remains that future success will depend not on the uniqueness of human skills, or on the transformative power of technology, but on a partnership between the two.

The most successful companies of the future will harness the power of this partnership by augmenting technological advances with human skills and vice versa. In this environment, people skilled in creativity and ideation, tasks related to social and emotional intelligence, and tasks related to perception and manipulation are likely to become even more valuable just as the talent crunch hits.

The most successful companies of the future will augment technological advances with human skills and vice versa. Click To Tweet

The time to act is now

All this suggests that leaders won’t be able to rely on sourcing talent in the external market to fill skill gaps in their organisations. Instead, companies will need to become more agile in developing talent from within. Leaders need to act now to identify the people in their organisations who have the right traits and capabilities so they can begin to build the workforce needed for the future.

The focus on talent has never been greater or more urgent. Read the Talent Shift and get ready to rethink your talent pipeline now.

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About the contributor

Chris Mayler is a Senior Client Director for Korn Ferry Advisory, Australia. For the last 15 years, Chris helped organisations maximise the potential of their workforce to drive business performance.

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