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Minding the skills gap: Steps global organisations can take to replenish the talent pool, close the digital skills gap

The global digital skills gap is growing at an exponential rate. According to the Coursera 2019 Global Skills Index, a whopping two thirds of the global population is falling behind in critical skills, with 90 percent being in developing economies. IDC echoes this in their Futurescape report, stating that two million jobs in artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, cybersecurity and blockchain will remain unfilled by 2023 due to a lack of human talent. The truth is that the rate at which technology is evolving is faster than the rate at which skills are being developed.

Considering the skills shortage, many CHROs are realising that a one-size-fits-all approach to talent management won’t work in today’s volatile, uncertain, complicated and ambiguous world. Instead many global organisations are looking towards a creative and insights-driven approach to plugging the gap.

Instead of favoring a localised approach, many are accessing the global talent pool. A good example of where this could work well is in a market such as Canada.

The three key factors to considering when selecting from the global talent pool

Where the world is your oyster, it is important to know where to find the best people for the job. In order to achieve this, global organisations need to consider three factors:

• Concentration of talent

• Labor costs and efficiency

• Business Environment

Concentration of Talent: Finding the right people to fit the job

In a world where connectivity allows for a flexible and global workforce, leveraging pockets of excellence across the globe can be a step towards closing the digital skills gap. Businesses therefore need to identify where concentrations of talent lie.

Labor costs and efficiency: Matching the right talent with competitive compensation

Labor costs and competitive compensation also need to be taken into consideration when identifying talent across the globe. One study by CapRelo looked into the average salary of a Software Engineer globally. Unsurprising, Silicon Valley came out on top with $85,000 as an average salary for an American software engineer and the second highest in the world, trailing only Switzerland’s $94,567. The key is to map out a company’s specific labor requirements while remaining competitive.

Business environment: A nimble response to the changing business environment

The ever-changing business environment should also be considered when building a global labor force. In response to changing business needs, the 2019 Global Skills Index showed that the global appetite for developing technological skills is slowly increasing at the expense of traditional business skills. According to the report, the demand for business skills such as sales or communications have been diminishing, while the demand for skills in technology and data science have grown exponentially. In fact, technology enrollments increased 13 percent since last year, while business enrollments fell by 11 percent.

While the industry plays catch up, it is vital for businesses to proactively continue with training initiatives in foundational business skills.

At the same time, companies should be aware that those adopting a flexible approach to globalised talent will be left with a new emerging challenge of creating a remote culture experience as well as enhanced management skills to manage an increasingly dispersed workforce.

Implementing effective global talent hubs will require a solid foundation, which without will prove to be costly; however if implemented properly can provide a healthy supply of technology talent to fulfill the growing demand.

Ultimately, technology can provide global organisations with the opportunity to access a global workforce.


 Terence Moolman

 Terence Moolman is the Chief HR Officer at SYSPRO Corporate.

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