A recent PwC survey found that 83% of CEOs said that they were concerned about their ability to find the right talent.
This comes against a backdrop of technology driving a shift from routine roles to higher-skilled, agile jobs, creating a skills vacuum or shortage in certain professions. This is already evident in accounting and finance, where technology is automating processes, providing greater quantities and quality of data for analysis, and demanding that the role of the accountant adapt to find greater, more insightful financial intelligence from these information flows.
Furthermore, businesses are seeking rapid transformations to evolve alongside disruptive technological and socio-economic changes, while also looking for greater productivity gains and maximised profits.
This means organisations are on the hunt for people with the skills and career outlooks to match their own intentions for growth and transformation, professionals with tomorrow’s skills today.
But the concern is that organisations may not be doing enough - or are not capable of moving quickly enough - to upskill their employees. This is only exacerbated by the nature of careers moving away from stable long-term employment with one firm, to job-hopping, freelance contracts - the fast-growing, modern and tech-savvy ‘gig economy’ - and people becoming entrepreneurs, doing things for themselves. This means companies are less willing to dedicate resources on employees they do not expect to keep beyond a few years.
But the responsibility for upskilling should be upheld by all expected to benefit - the employer, employee, freelancer or entrepreneur. The opportunity for professionals to get themselves ahead of the game in terms of skills, competencies and experiences, and to safeguard their careers against change, and ultimately to benefit from current and future trends, is considerable.
‘A diverse skills set is one of the most valuable commodities an employee can bring to a role, so it is in the employee’s best interest to be constantly upskilling wherever they have the opportunity,’ said Randstad Australia and New Zealand CEO Frank Ribuot.
‘People are obviously crying out to be upskilled, and while it can seem daunting to learn from scratch in certain areas, a lot of skills are actually quite transferrable, he said.
Top tips to future-proof your career
- Future-focused - with the current employment landscape so unpredictable, employees need to be prepared for whatever the future holds. Keep abreast of industry trends and always be ready, and even welcoming, for the possibility of a role-change or even a transition to an entirely different industry.
- Open up to new opportunities - whether you’re employed or self-employed, seek out chances for further training or skills development - it will impress both your employer and prospective clients if you can deliver and perform above expectations.
- Constantly seek out opportunities to learn - take on new responsibilities with your existing employer/clients, put yourself forward whenever training opportunities arise, or seek out skills courses. It’s all about taking control of the direction of your career, so know what you want and need to get where you want to go.
- Grow your network - quite simply, the more you meet and connect with others, the more opportunities will come your way. Building connections with like-minded professionals or mentors inside and outside your industry can open doors that will allow you to both expand your skills and boost your potential employment opportunities.