- Soft skills have become just as important as technical ones.
- Lack of budget is the biggest tangible barrier to reskilling the workforce
- Learnability is the most undervalued intangible skill
Analytics, user experience, automation, IT architecture and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are the technical skills that are in greatest demand today, as per a study by IT major Infosys.
Infosys Knowledge Institute (IKI), the research arm of Infosys, on Wednesday released the study report titled ‘Infosys Talent Radar 2019.’
The report noted that digitising business is “less about disruption and more about meeting focused objectives”. These objectives include better understanding of customers and markets (46 per cent respondents), customer experience (45 per cent), increasing productivity (40 per cent) and employee experience (35 per cent).
Skills in greatest demand
Digital initiatives require people with sophisticated technical skills and the ability to continually update those skills as cycles continue to shorten, the report said.
The five technical skills in greatest demand today, according to the report, are analytics (67 per cent of digital initiatives), user experience (67 per cent), automation (61 per cent), IT architecture (59 per cent) and AI (58 per cent).
As digital projects are focused on creating superior customer and employee experiences, soft skills have become just as important as technical ones. Those soft skills in greatest demand included teamwork (74 per cent of digital initiatives), leadership (70 per cent), and communication (68 per cent).
However, the companies surveyed apparently underestimate the relative importance of two soft skills: empathy (52 percent), which is essential for design thinking, and learnability (56 percent), which is key to the continuous personal and technical development essential for today’s digital talent.
Barriers to Talent Transformation
Infosys looked at two perspectives on the barriers that prevent sufficient demand-supply match of talent — tangible and intangible barriers to talent transformation.
The tangible barriers to reskilling the workforce include – lack of budget, lack of management awareness or support, organisational issues, inadequate talent management plans, insufficient HR resources, employee resistance to change, inadequate tools, etc.
The intangible barriers are: Teamwork, leadership, communication, creativity, creative thinking, adaptability, learnability and empathy.
Undervaluing learnability limits potential of other talent initiatives, the report noted. “It limits the tremendous potential of reskilling as a competitive advantage for companies that embrace learnability,” it cited.
Ways to address the talent needs
The report identified four approaches that can help companies prepare themselves to address the talent needs of today and prepare for those of the future. It suggested companies to
- Cast a wider net for new hires
- Reskill and redeploy in-house talent
- Engage temporary workers and gig economy strategically
- Align organizational structure to evolving business needs
“There is not just a talent war — it’s a famine. To succeed, companies must hire, develop, and retain talent better than their competition,” said Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Infosys.
“As enterprises progress in their digital journeys, the winners will be those who utilise multiple hiring sources and reskill workers in a culture of lifelong learning — invest in their people, who are the ultimate differentiator in a commoditized world,” Rao said.
For the study, the Infosys Knowledge Institute conducted an online survey that included more than 1,000 CXOs and other senior-level respondents from companies with revenue greater than $1 billion.
Respondents represented multiple industries and were from India, Australia, China, France, Germany, the UK and the US.