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CEOs See Hiring Skills Gap Fast Turning into a Chasm

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Research performed by PwC shows that CEOs are worrying about the impact of the lack of skills on their business, more now than any time during the last six years.

PwC interviewed over 1,300 CEOs of which three quarters consider finding candidates with the right skills needed to grow their business is the largest threat to their business. It’s a 10 percent increase from 2014, and it spiked from less than half, respectively 46%, in 2009.

CEOs in South Africa and Japan are the most worried. Nine in ten of the CEOs surveyed in South Africa and Japan believe their company’s growth potential is threatened by the availability of key skills. China (90%), Hong Kong (85%), UK (84%), and Romania (84%) are closely following. To make up for the lack of talent, CEOs are using part-time employees, temporary workers, service, and outsourcing agreements. They’re also looking for a broader mix of skills than before. And they’re searching for talent in a variety of regions, demographic segments, and industries.

CEOs are faced with a skills gap problem

Access to top talent is also pushing a stronger M&A activity. Over a quarter of the interviewed CEOs say that filling the talent gaps is a major reason for working with other enterprises. It’s pushing for a gig economy, where people with the key and in-demand skills can decide when and where they work, and who they collaborate with.

Jon Andrews, who is the head of PwC’s global people and organization practice, says that companies are now struggling more than before to find workers with the right skill-set to achieve their development plans, despite the ambitious hiring plans and increased business confidence. He believes that the digitization of the world has turned the lack of skills from a nagging frustration for CEOs into a real challenge.

According to Andrews, companies are dealing with a shifting and complex world where technology is changing the landscape. Businesses need people with strong tech skills that can adapt and work across a variety of industries. But such people are difficult to find, and they can afford to charge increased premiums for their capabilities. Businesses can’t recruit workers like before, they must look in new places, new pools of talent, and regions. Companies must also use data to identify the skills they need and where they can find them. Businesses must focus their hiring efforts. Companies feel that the role of the Government is essential in solving the skills deficit – six out of ten businesses say that the Government’s number one priority should be creating an adaptable and skilled workforce.

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