Based on the latest PWC CEO survey, “New Zealand CEOs are being ‘kept awake at night’ as a nation-wide shortage of people with digital skills threatens local businesses”. The survey highlights that while the problem of talent crisis is felt globally, it perceived to be bigger in New Zealand. The focus is on what is called digital skills with jobs for data scientists, designers and programmers being particularly hard to fill. PWC mentions in their report that this issue of talent has been raised a few years ago and so far we are not seeing enough progress to solve it.
The talent crisis – origins
I believe that the talent crisis and the environmental crisis originated from the same fundamental values and beliefs of the western society that we are living in. Some of these beliefs are:
- Economic growth is the most important indicator of success – this is in many cases exclusive or at least dominating indicator for growth in the political, financial and businesses agendas. It was interesting and encouraging to read the New Zealand Treasury publication of the Living Standards Framework.
- Mass production and efficiency – the belief that these are the best ways to achieve abundance needed for human consumption. This fundamental belief drives our education system and management systems.
- Consumption – We are now obsessed with the notion that consuming goods is the best and in many cases the only way for happiness.
- Progress – the belief that has driven the industrial revolution that technology will solve all human problems and hence with technology innovation progress will continue forever. The climate changes are a good example to why we should view everything as complex and interdependent.
The talent crisis – possible ways forward
Climate changes and pollution are a clear symptom of the environmental crisis. It is now forcing most governments, financial institutions, scientists, and organisations to take actions. The talent crisis is not yet that visible. However assuming it caused by the same beliefs, I suggest we take a similar approach to address it. This approach has to go as deep as changing our beliefs:
- Take a holistic approach– Human talent is diverse and it brings value in many and sometimes unpredictable ways. I believe that in order to create the talents of the future we should consider redefine talents, how these are being applied and how we reward talents that are creating value in paid and non-paid jobs.
- Sustainable behavior – Organisations can approach talents in a way that improves people, community, and overall social performance as well as meet their own needs. For example: spending effort and time discovering already existing talents within an organisation before trying to replace or buy externally, sharing skills that are in short supply by creating and supporting true freelancer’s open market, considering and having clear strategies for an ongoing retirement of skills and the development of new ones.
- Self-management – enable an environment that allows people to grow and develop their own talents in their own unique way. Businesses and management should step away from trying to control how people enabled in this environment and allow more flexibility in applying their talents in unexpected and creative ways.
- Nurture diversity and interdependency – environment strategies emphasise the critical role that biodiversity plays in the earth overall health. In a similar way, organisations should focus on developing strategies that nurture the diversity and focus on enabling collaboration and interdependency
@Hadas Wittenberg is a future of work enabler