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Why the future isn’t when, it’s now

Tihana Drumev - Brave Bison

The future’s digital, and thanks to the pandemic, that future’s here sooner than many expected, leaving several industries struggling to catch up.

But when hiring costs can range from 50% of an employee’s salary for entry-level roles to as much as 150% for skilled workers and managers, investing in training existing workforces could pay dividends. Accredited online learning from world-class training provider, ILX, could help ease your workforce’s journey into the new dawn of digital.

The impact of Covid-19 on industry
Covid-19 accelerated digital transformation, leaving customers and service end-users few options but digital engagement, and forcing businesses to adapt to survive. The pandemic impacted almost every facet of the working world, including:

  • A rapid shift into hybrid working – requiring enhanced cyber security and increased dependencies on cloud services
  • Speeding up the adoption of AI and machine learning
  • Shifting the retail model strongly in favour of digital

And now, as the world gets back on its feet, organisations are facing staff shortages, supply chain disruption, inflation, and uncertainty.

But, with challenges come opportunities. And by training your workforce to adapt to the new world of industry, your business can face the future with confidence.

The most in-demand skills in 2022
Dealing with the after-effects of the pandemic has forced many businesses to reprioritise the skills they look for in their workforce. The skills rated most highly by organisations are:

  • Management and Leadership (76%)
  • Big Data Analytics (75%)
  • Cloud (74%)
  • Project and Programme Management (72%)
  • Automation (70%)

Given the unprecedented matrix of challenges businesses face, the demand for management and leadership should come as no surprise. Dealing with these crises requires having the right vision, setting effective strategies, making the right decisions, setting the right examples, and communicating the right messages at the right time.

Learning and Development is key to post-pandemic success
New ways of working and the adoption of remote-hybrid employment have been key drivers in an increased demand for learning and development.

  • 41% of organisations increased their learning and development budget in 2021, whereas nearly half, 49%, plan to do so this year.

With staff shortages affecting every industry, training is seen as a key differentiator (80%) in attracting top talent. And with the shift into hybrid and remote work models, and the increased uptake of AI technology, organisations are investing in training their IT and product development functions, as a priority.

Organisations must keep up with the pace of AI adoption

  • Organisations are seeing the greatest demand for AI (41%) and Cloud (41%) training from their IT departments

The capabilities of AI are already stretching beyond what many could have predicted. But taking advantage of the efficiencies and benefits it can offer is dependent on organisations and their workforces keeping up with the speed of advancement.

“The reality is that artificial intelligence (AI) is at work already – it impacts how we search, how we shop and even how we meet people. Here at ILX, we believe that demystifying AI is key. People have always feared what they don’t understand, and this revolution is no different.

“Timing will be a factor, but in all cases, making AI accessible is key to getting the workforce of the future engaged.” Russell Kenrick, Managing Director of ILX Group,

AI to make some low-skilled roles redundant
Managing Director of ILX Group, Russell Kenrick, explains how re-skilling professionals can help combat the AI skills gap, and allow room for lower-skill workers to upskill.

“The upskilling (or reskilling) debate is about the roles that are leaving vs the roles that are needed for the future. The real elephant in the room, is the roles that are going (due to AI today) are largely lower-skill roles. Unfair I know, but we’re seeing AI replace shop workers, waiters, receptionists and office admin and it’s a long journey for some of those workers to fill the skill gaps like data scientists, digital marketing experts and IT professionals. But it’s possible.

“Where it gets even scarier, is when we see more AI and automation within what we call ‘professional’ roles, such as sales, customer services, and business support roles like HR, learning, finance, legal, IT Service desks, etc. It’s the reskilling of these people that will drive growth in AI roles because the workflow is more complex.”

He gives advice on which AI to opt for:

“When implementing AI, we recommend the use of Agile methods to get the best results – it requires rapid feedback loops and lots of experimentation.”

Data science skills will help your workforce better understand its customers
The shift to online buying isn’t just a challenge for organisations, it’s also a massive opportunity to gather data and use it to analyse and understand your customers like never before. Organisations that analyse data to better understand customer behaviour outperform their peers by 85%.

However, a national shortage of technical IT staff means that training is essential.

  • Engineers and data scientists enjoyed a 9-16% wage increase in just one year as a result of short supply.

Digital Marketing
Keeping your business competitive in a shifting global landscape requires acknowledging where skillsets need an update.

  • Traditional sales skills don’t translate into e-commerce
  • L&D teams need to focus on high value technical skills that support customer acquisition like SEO, email marketing, PPC and conversion rate optimisation.

Managing Director of the ILX Group, Russell Kenrick, explains what it takes to create high-performing sales and marketing teams:

“Sales and marketing are in transition, driven by technological advances and accelerated by the global pandemic. The traditional skills associated with sales and marketing no longer guarantee success. To be successful today, professionals in these functions need to marry traditional content and communication skills with data analytics, data-driven decision making, digital marketing skills, such as SEO, PPC, CRM and social, and perhaps most imortantly Agile project management. This last one is often overlooked, but more often than not, it is the difference between high-performance sales and marketing teams… and the rest.”

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