talent business skills new shortage leaders
Diversity can help close the tech skills gap * Over half of business leaders say the skills shortage is hampering digital transformation. * Businesses must widen the talent search to untapped demographics. * Technology can facilitate this search.Ask business leaders today the biggest business risk in the future, and theywill likely say hiring and retaining a skilled workforce.We are certainly feeling it in the technology industry. The worldwide labourskills shortage is predicted to reach 4.3 million workers and roughly $450billion in unrealized output by 2030 – and that’s in the technology, media andtelecommunications sector alone.But in reality, the technology skills shortage is an issue that spansindustries as companies everywhere digitally transform to prepare for a data-driven future. Many are already feeling the effects. In one study, more thanhalf of the business leaders surveyed reported that the talent gap is not onlyhampering their digital transformation agendas, but causing them to losecompetitive advantage because of it.It’s an urgent business challenge that is getting more urgent every day. Andit requires a new way of thinking about finding, keeping and evolving talentfor the workforce of the future.2030: Global technology, media, and telecommunications talent deficit byeconomyImage: KornFerry## A bigger skills pondBusiness leaders need to identify new sources of talent fast. Most companies,especially those in the technology industry, have been fishing from the samesmall pond for talent. It’s time to dive into the sea of talent traditionallyunderrepresented in tech, such as women, minorities and other groups who havelargely been excluded from the industry to-date.At Dell, we recently launched a hiring program for people with autism. Wechanged the recruitment experience for this talent pool – foregoing thetraditional interview process, which can be overwhelming for some autisticcandidates. Instead, we brought them in for a two-week assessment, followed bya 12-week internship with job coaching for selected candidates. It’s oneexample of how we are thinking creatively about expanding our talent pool andopening doors to opportunity for all.Diversifying teams does more than solve a shortage of workers, it also makesgood business sense. A recent study by McKinsey discovered companies in thetop quartile for gender diversity are 21% more likely to have financialreturns above their respective national industry medians. And when they lookedat the benefits of ethnic diversity, it jumps to 33%.On the contrary, research by MIT shows racially homogeneous groups are lessrigorous in their decision-making and make more mistakes than diverse groups.And in business, mistakes cost you.## Check your biasIt is not enough to get diverse workers in the door. Once they are there,companies need to make them feel as though they belong and are free to bringtheir authentic, best selves to work.Standing in the way of a truly inclusive workplace is the fundamental issue ofhuman bias. We all have conscious and unconscious biases that affect how weview the world and interact with others around us. Some organizations arefinding new and interesting ways to tackle this issue head on. For instance,CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion provides the Check Your Blind Spotsmobile tour, which uses a series of immersive and interactive elements toteach people how to mitigate unconscious bias in their everyday lives. EqualReality uses virtual reality to literally help people see and experience lifefrom the point of view of someone of a different gender, race or abilitylevel.The potential of emerging technologies to help remove bias from the workplaceis promising. A recent study reports that 69% of worldwide business leadersexpect to use new technologies to take human bias out of the hiring process.For example, applying artificial intelligence to screen resumes can removecues that may unfairly influence the process – like a non-traditional name orwhere the applicant is based – or it can flag biases in job descriptions thatare written to subtly favor one gender over the other. The possibilities areexciting.An inclusive environment is a place where people want to work, feel connectedand can see themselves in the values and culture of the company. According tothe Society of Human Resources Management, when diverse employees flourish,the whole company benefits from their ideas, skills and engagement and,importantly, the retention rate of those workers rises.The World Economic Forum was the first to draw the world’s attention to theFourth Industrial Revolution, the current period of unprecedented changedriven by rapid technological advances. Policies, norms and regulations havenot been able to keep up with the pace of innovation, creating a growing needto fill this gap.The Forum established the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Networkin 2017 to ensure that new and emerging technologies will help—notharm—humanity in the future. Headquartered in San Francisco, the networklaunched centres in China, India and Japan in 2018 and is rapidly establishinglocally-run Affiliate Centres in many countries around the world.The global network is working closely with partners from government, business,academia and civil society to co-design and pilot agile frameworks forgoverning new and emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence(AI), autonomous vehicles, blockchain, data policy, digital trade, drones,internet of things (IoT), precision medicine and environmental innovations.Learn more about the groundbreaking work that the Centre for the FourthIndustrial Revolution Network is doing to prepare us for the future.Want to help us shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Contact us to find outhow you can become a member or partner.## Reskilling today’s talentAs we prepare for the future, it’s imperative we bring our current workforcealong with us. Effective reskilling programs are a must – and in high demandby anxious workers. A recent study found that 38% of employees believe theirskill set is redundant now, or will be in the next four to five years.The Wall Street Journal recently reported that many reskilling efforts failbecause companies don’t know how to reskill employees or what skills are evenneeded. And by the time they figure it out, it’s too late. This area needsmore attention by today’s business leaders.These are just some of the ways we collectively need to think about how tobuild a bridge to the other side of the widening skills gap. The good news isthere is no shortage of capable people to fill the talent needs of the future.But it will require businesses, governments and academia working together witha sense of urgency to open doors of opportunity to current and future talentaround the world.Written byHoward Elias, President, Services and Digital, Dell TechnologiesThe views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not theWorld Economic Forum.