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Re-skilling the nation

Australian CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills in their organisations. In 2018, they consider this one of the top five threats to growth, alongside cybersecurity, over regulation, increasing tax burden and speed of technological change.

Our latest CEO Survey shows 75% of Australia’s CEOs (and 79% globally) are concerned about the availability of critical skills.

This marks a significant turnaround from last year when only 58% of Australia’s CEOs held the same concern (compared with 77% globally).

This concern intensifies as many organisations prepare for automation and look to improve the experiences of their customers via new technologies. The fast pace of digital change is reshaping today’s workforce.

This means our talent pool needs to be re-skilled. Education systems need to equip and empower the workforce with the right skills to succeed in this new working environment.

Most of Australia’s CEOs recognise the importance of this ongoing re-skilling task. Our survey shows 54% agree they have a responsibility to retrain employees whose tasks and jobs are automated by technology.

Though we lag behind our global peers (67% agree they have a responsibility to retrain employees), the overarching sentiment is powerful.

Re-skilling an organisation begins with recognising the issue so that it can be embedded into a future strategy, which follows through to reshaped jobs, skills and new ways of working.

Organisations are investing in education to ensure appropriate skills are available. Businesses are creating senior leadership roles as a strategy to make their workforce future fit and they are partnering with other organisations to accommodate the needs of the future workforce.

The ideal workforce will vary from one organisation to another but achieving the right mix of humans and machines will mean the difference between success and failure.

This can only be done by employing a forward-thinking approach to the sorts of skills required, as well as the ways to attract the right talent.

Rather than relying on the past model of forced redundancy of roles, leaders are considering the optimal balance of re-skilling/repurposing and upskilling versus bringing in people with new and different skills and knowledge.

For many, bridging the gap between a current workforce and a future-fit workforce is a journey that needs to start today.

Explore more via our PwC CEO Survey results to understand why leaders need to respond today to develop and attract the right talent.

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