In the age of rapid transformation of job roles, it has become imperative for organisations to keep pace and accordingly upskill their workforce. What has been learned from LinkedIn’s Jobs on the rise report pertaining to SouthEast Asia is the increasing demand for roles that require digital skills. This trend is set against the backdrop of accelerated automation with Industry 4.0 and the digital transformation of the region in full gear. But this itself presents a burning challenge.
It has been found that nearly 70% of tech hiring managers in SEA say that it takes more than three months to fill an open tech position on their team, this inevitably places pressure on the government to keep rewiring its education infrastructure in order to produce better prepared tech graduates. In Singapore, 78% of recruiters are facing a challenge in filling job roles due to a lack of talent with relevant skill sets, and a smaller talent pool actively job hunting. In the face of increasing demand for highly skilled digital professionals, Asia has to get better at quickly and efficiently reskilling the current workforce to keep pace with the urgent demands of this swift digital transformation.
This demand-supply mismatch when it comes to finding the right talent is not unique to SouthEast Asia but given how the region is a booming hub for a number of industries be it manufacturing or technology, skilling the workforce is bound to have a massive impact on the productivity gains of businesses during a period of uncertainty and an increasingly competitive talent market.
What must leaders do to bridge the skills gap?
Having acknowledged the challenge that industries continue to grapple with, this is the question to which we need to urgently find answers to. More than half of employers believe that reskilling and up-skilling employees is the top consequence of digital transformation and it will be imperative to plan these learning strategies for the future. Mckinsey's Li-Kai Chen, Managing Partner of the Malaysia office firmly believes that the most important skills going forward will be those that are not easily replaced.
“These include technology skills, basic computer and digital skills, advanced cognitive skills, quantitative and statistical skills, and problem-solving skills,” said Chen. He also attests that other traits that will rise in importance include interpersonal skills which will help foster relationships across various stakeholders.
A renewed skilling strategy that takes this into account becomes crucial to help the workforce in SEA excel and deliver optimum performance this year. What also needs to be noted is that employers should adopt a more agile approach and define the specific skill types required for their business growth.
Following this, they can leverage the right learning technology to offer workers specific programs to equip them with the necessary skill set. The hunt for talent which will continue, building in the workforce you need from within the organisation will be a definitive game changer in the larger business strategy as well. So, our first step in bridging the skills gap becomes building an agile L&D function.
Our second strategy would be the use of analytics for role-based skill benchmarking. Assessing the skill gaps prevalent in the organisation and accordingly benchmarking the skills required for each role enables talent mobility. When backed by the right learning courses made accessible to the workforce, this can elevate the skills of the current workforce and help overcome the supply-demand mismatch at greater speed.
Finally, leaders must invest in L&D strategies that equip their workforce to become future ready. This translates to becoming lifelong learners as skill requirements continue to change, what can empower your employees in their learning journeys then is to ensure an LXP that makes learning AI driven, personalised and accessible. This encourages them to drive their own skilling agenda while also enabling them to keep up with the changing demands of the business.
“The speed of reskilling is going to be quite vital for a new joiner to today’s workforce. Lifelong learning is here to stay. How do you learn to learn?” said Chen. This is the key sentiment driving upskilling programs at the workplace today, leaders and learners both seek efficiency and speed in a work environment that is dynamic when it comes to skill requirements. Although the skill-demand supply mismatch is a challenge that organisations will continue to face, the best strategy to empower them in this fight is re-inventing and innovating their learning models. In the face of uncertainty, a future ready workforce is one that continues to embrace learning in line with their personal and professional goals for growth.