Graduates and talent of the future workforce

How the workforce is changing and the need for agility

The world of work is experiencing a seismic shift requiring employers and employees to reconcile with a new work environment where job security is no longer the priority and flexibility and adaptability take precedence.

This shift is being driven by certain trends that are fundamentally changing the structure of talent and work.

Technology – the foundation of an open talent economy

Traditional talent assumptions are no longer valid if we can work, learn, and share from anywhere in the world. The advances in computing speed, storage and power have enabled real-time collaboration in almost every field.

AI, robotics, and automation are not, as it was once thought, threatening jobs but, in fact, are doing the exact opposite, according to Tom Standage, deputy editor and digital strategist at The Economist. However, it is vital that employees keep their skills relevant and updated to adapt to a changing talent market.

Using technology allows for faster matching, onboarding, performance and knowledge transfer when utilising independent workers, lowering the overall cost.

Speed of change and reskilling

Predicting the skills required in the future is almost impossible given the volatility of demand and the increasing speed of innovation cycles. The obvious solution is to develop a global on-demand supply of skilled talent that can react as required.

A case in point is Europe’s increasing skills gap as a result of its ageing population. Reskilling employees and identifying skills gaps are more important than the size of a labour force. In Sweden, the government collaborates with private companies to fill skills gaps but is biased against the workers who need reskilling the most, the low skilled workers.

Social Contract

The days of a lifelong commitment in exchange for job security and a stable environment are almost over. Even in the last 10 – 15 years, it has become an antiquated concept.

Today employers are looking for flexibility and adaptability to allow them to respond to shortened innovation cycles. At the same time, the vast majority of employees are no longer interested in a traditional nine to five office role.

You can’t forget the human element

Though technology plays a significant role in recruitment – sourcing and matchmaking processes, the human aspect of recruitment means that it will be difficult for technology to take over.

According to Jonas Prising, chairman and chief executive officer of Manpower Group, automation will never be able to capture a company’s culture, and how a candidate will fit in, an employer’s gut feeling will be the differentiator.

The open talent economy allows individuals to move away from the traditional model of lifelong careers towards a situation where there is no imperative to make a binding commitment. As a result, companies need to think about how they will access and engage with a talent pool that is not available via normal recruitment processes.

Graduate Schemes to support early careers

There are many reasons for considering offering a graduate program, irrespective of the size of your organisation. It is one of the best ways to attract fresh graduates into junior and entry-level roles. By offering a competitive salary and structured career development, you have the benefit of attracting a ‘blank canvas’ who you can train and mould to your workplace practices’ and company culture.

Graduate schemes benefit both the company and the graduate. Graduates are attracted by the opportunity to have responsibility in a company, develop their skills and gain experience, while for the employer, the benefits are numerous, including:

Affordable hiring options – Generally, Graduates will start on a lower salary than a person with experience, but to a Graduate, salary is less important than learning, development and growth opportunities.

Bridging the gap between work and university – Graduates main focus is on gaining experience and skills. With a structured program, you can benefit from the development of Graduates with little experience but strong potential.

Fresh perspective and innovation – Graduates will often question the ways things work. As they are not embedded in your company culture, they can spot flaws and offer ideas for improvements in processes.

Diversified workforce – Diversity in the workforce is vital for your company to benefit from your workforce’s different attitudes, perspectives, and qualities to give you a competitive edge. Your graduate program will provide the added benefit of employing talent from diverse backgrounds both academically and culturally, offering a more comprehensive range of ideas and an inclusive feel to your company culture.

Company value – A thriving graduate program is a credit to your company and will add value to your brand. Future Graduates will be attracted to your organisation, and existing employees will know they will be working with motivated, talented people. A successful graduate scheme is also an excellent resource for senior staff looking for the stars of the future.

There are three main types of graduate scheme generally available – rotational schemes, technical expert schemes and project schemes.

  1. Rotational Schemes – place new Graduates in broad managerial roles to give them a key role across several departments. This type of scheme improves versatility as you’ll gain a variety of new skills and be trained across many areas.
  2. Technical Expert Schemes – on a specific skill set and a defined area of your career. These schemes focus on specialised roles, such as engineering, and are ideal if you already know the job you want to go into.
  3. Project Schemes – combine elements of both rotational schemes and technical expert schemes, offering Graduates the chance to work in various roles and focus on specific skills.

Upskilling current in-house talent

Competition is peaking for talent, and in-demand candidates have more options to consider than ever before. Upskilling current employees to fill the skills and knowledge gaps in your organisation could be a viable option when new talent is scarce.

By diverting resources away from competing for external talent and investing in your undervalued in-house talent, you could reduce your churn by offering career development to existing employees and redesigning current roles to allow you to look for in-house talent with adjacent skills who can be upskilled into a more demanding role.

84% of companies are increasing investment in reskilling programs across all sectors. When companies invest in their workforce, employees are more likely to stay as their skills grow. This nurtures a long-term relationship, keeping employees happy and reducing flight risk.

Generation Xers are keen to learn on the job, with 91% saying employer-provided professional training is now a significant factor when deciding to accept a new role or stay in their current position. In addition, they view their employability as a way of ensuring job security, so the more skills they can acquire, the more secure they feel.

The organisations that invest in learning technology are seeing an immediate boost in productivity and engagement. Their investment is financed by reducing employee churn as 94% of workers are willing to commit to an organisation that is showing commitment to their career advancement.

A Mckinsey report predicts that in the next decade, physical and manual skills will see a marked decline in demand, as will basic literacy skills, while digital skills will make up 70% of the fasted growing skills required by businesses closely followed by strong interpersonal skills.

Adapting job skills for the future is imperative. Upskilling and reskilling your employees to face the future workplace and adapt as required to automation and augmentation challenges will allow for a seamless transition for your employees and your business.