20 May 2019

The talent crisis we’re all facing is not just affecting developed economies; it’s affecting developing economies too. It’s a global crisis that has the potential to change the balance of global economic power.

According to Korn Ferry International’s Future of Work survey, we can expect a talent shortage of 85.2 million workers by 2030. The skills gap is particularly evident in IT, where businesses know they need to work hard to attract and recruit the right talent.

However, hiring new workers will only go so far. Companies need to give existing employees the chance to move into more skilled, value-based and rewarding roles. What that means in practice is making sure employees have access to digital skills training and creating a cross-company culture of continuous learning.

Digital transformation is shaping the world of work, increasingly having an impact on and challenging every sector. Finding talented workers is only part of the solution; to compete in today’s ever-changing digital economy organisations need to make sure their workforce is agile, adaptable and engaged with transformation.

The talent shortage is already having a significant impact on areas such as cybersecurity, AI and machine learning. These skills are already in high demand – and that demand is only going to increase over time. The question is how businesses are planning to future-proof themselves so they can continue to make new IT hires going forward.

Earlier this year, the UK government was accused of not tackling the shortage of cybersecurity talent with enough urgency. Cyberattacks are happening with increasing frequency and sophistication – and have the potential to be catastrophic for small and mid-sized businesses.

With not enough cybersecurity workers available, businesses have to invest in their current workforce, giving them the skills training to take on a cybersecurity role. In doing so, companies can grow their cyber-skills and employees are incentivised by having the training and support they need to change their career progression route.

It doesn’t just have to be IT staff who are trained to work with new digital technologies. All employees are capable (and plenty are willing) to learn new skills that enable new ways of working. However, few will make the transition from simple task execution to collaboration with intelligent machines independently. For that they need senior leadership to prepare them for digital transformed new ways of working.

If businesses are going to succeed, they need to create a supportive learning culture and have the right tools in place. Every member of staff needs access to intuitive platforms that tailor learning styles and content to their needs.

These platforms should be able to recommend content and courses based on what other employees are doing, as well as the user’s previously-viewed content, area of business, interests and career aspirations.

But training tools are only one part of the solution. Change needs to be sustainable and this can only be achieved through a culture of learning development and agility.

Changing the culture of an organisation is not going to happen overnight. Businesses need to equip their employees with the tools to carry out their role and the opportunities to develop their skills.

As the digital economy continues to evolve, we all need to prepare our workforces so they’re ready for anything.


At Hunter Charles, we apply specific market knowledge to deliver truly tailored recruitment solutions. Find out how we can help your business take the first step towards plugging the skills gap.