By Scott MacRae, Group Managing Director, Industry & Manufacturing Division.
We are currently in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with change not just happening in factories and on shop floors but sweeping throughout entire businesses. Technology has become seamlessly ingrained in our day to day lives, and game-changing innovations are taking place in the realms of robotics, artificial intelligence, cognitive technologies and connectivity, as well as the ever-expanding Internet of Things (IoT).
Smart technologies are transforming how goods are manufactured, put to use and maintained, and thus increasing complexity of IoT sensors is giving companies unprecedented insight into their processes along the supply chain. But this Industrial Revolution doesn’t mark the end of man and the rise of the machine, it simply means that as companies change their ways of working and develop their product portfolio, they will also have to look for different attributes and skillsets in candidates.
One of the biggest challenges in embracing and thriving within this new age is getting the right talent in place to lead our workforces while supporting our transfer into the digital world, making sure we have what we currently need in place while also making sure we are futureproofed. Nowadays, leaders need to be much more agile in their style – different situations call for different approaches.
Deloitte recently released a survey on Industry 4.0 readiness, and the findings suggest that leaders who are proving successful in this ever-changing landscape fit into one of four groups, the first being ‘social supers’. These leaders stand out for their ability to do well by doing good – corporate social responsibility is high on their agenda and social initiatives are fundamental to their business. Ultimately, they are optimistic about creating benefits for society which influences their outlook in a number of ways.
Secondly, there are ‘data-driven decisives’. These c-suite members are overcoming challenges by taking a methodical, data-focused approach to strategic decision making. These data-driven decisives are almost twice as likely to say they’re prepared to capitalise on Industry 4.0 opportunities, and their organisations are already reaping the economic rewards of embracing a wider range of technology.
Next we have ‘disruption drivers’, who understand that investments in disruptive innovations will set their organisations apart from their competitors. They are confident individuals, giving them an advantage when it comes to coping with the unknowns of Industry 4.0 – businesses led by headstrong leaders will be better prepared for implementation of disruptive technologies.
Lastly there are ‘talent champions’ – these executives are preparing their current employees for digital transformation. Millennials now make up the largest portion of the workforce, and this generation favour career progression over any other incentive, with 90 per cent wanting to develop their professional life with their current employer. Talent champions do exactly what their moniker suggests – their focus is on employee retraining and upskilling, rather than finding replacements, in order to prepare for the future of the workplace.
Alongside the tech innovations that are shaping the way we train members or staff, there has also been a societal shift that has brought a much bigger focus onto workplace diversity. Doing this complements the innovations of Industry 4.0, which the World Economic Forum described perfectly: “To navigate the uncertainties of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, all sectors need to increase diversity within their talent pools and their leadership to benefit from the range of perspectives, creative thinking and skills needed. The current moment offers a strategic win-win opportunity and to proactively enhance equality and prevent widening gender and skills gaps.”
Recently we have been working with our client to broaden talent pools beyond the obvious and traditional targets. As much as there is still a hunger to attract the very best talent within a given sector, candidates who can hit the ground running, there is also a real appetite to balance this with the diverse hires who bring something new, be it an idea, perspective or approach, to the table, and this lead to candidates changing their sector altogether.
Because clients are now more open to hiring candidates from beyond their usual talent pool and reskilling them, we are able to present our clients with truly diverse shortlists that tap into industries which has been more successful in attracting diverse demographics. This, couple with the advances in technology, mean that candidates who would perhaps not be attracted to manufacturing and industry roles, are now seeing an opportunity to be part of exciting and momentous change within the sector.