HUMAN RESOURCE

Firms urged to invest in upskilling employees to improve earnings - KPMG report

With technology continuously redefining business operations in all sectors of the economy, HR leaders are having to grapple with worrying skills mismatch in the workforce

In Summary
  • 56 per cent of HR managers agree that preparing the workforce for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies will be the biggest challenge
  • A report by City & Guilds Group business Kineo shows although employees are eager to learn they are inhibited by a lack of access to training opportunities
The KPMG logo is seen at the company's head offices in Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa, September 15, 2017. /REUTERS
The KPMG logo is seen at the company's head offices in Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa, September 15, 2017. /REUTERS

Human resource managers fear their jobs may be at stake if they fail to modernize their workforce for the future.

A report by global consultancy firm KPMG shows three in every five HR leaders believe their function will rapidly become irrelevant if human resource practitioners do not modernize their approach to understanding and planning for the future of employee needs.

“Organizations of all shapes and sizes across the globe generally agree that the HR function will cease to exist in its traditional form if it continues to operate or deliver in the same way,” KMPG international partner Mark Spears said.

 

According to the 2019 Global CEO Outlook, 44 per cent of CEOs across major markets plan to upskill more than half of their work forces in new digital capabilities over the next three years, yet only 11 per cent of HR executives plan to upskill that much of the workforce.

With technology continuously redefining business operations in all sectors of the economy, HR leaders are having to grapple with worrying skills mismatch in the workforce as they seek to hire and retain top talent.

While more than half (56 per cent) of HR managers agree that preparing the workforce for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies will be the biggest challenge for the HR function, the majority of institutions are yet to put in place learning and development systems to bridge the skills gap.

The study found a strong correlation between increased revenue over the last fiscal year and plans to upskill 11–30 per cent of the current workforce in new digital capabilities during the next 2–3 years.

This means upskilling a firm’s labour force could result in increased productivity, driving up the firm’s profits.

“While most (87 per cent) are prioritizing efforts around how to identify the future workforce composition, HR leaders still seem uncertain about the best approach to do that,” the report stated.

Human resources practitioners have noted the fast-changing business landscape that requires constant skills upgrade and growing demand for personal development adding that both leaders and staff lack organizational skills to meet their growth targets.

 

“Due to technological advancements and globalization, our working environment is constantly changing, there is a focus on “employee-driven” or “user-centric” learning approaches. It is essential that we understand what this actually means for us in Africa,” director of learning and development at Edify Learning Forum Africa (ELFA) Catherine Jura said.

A report by City & Guilds Group business Kineo shows although employees are eager to learn they are inhibited by a lack of accessible, appropriate and engaging training opportunities.

“While 79 per cent of employees expressed interest in seeing a bigger focus on training and people development in their workplace, 85 per cent are currently struggling to access training in their workplace,” the report stated.

This ultimately forces workers to seek out alternative learning tools with the study showing six out of every 10 employees invest their personal time in learning education or training activity, 59 per cent of whom have sought online advice, guidance or e-learning solutions.

“Companies invest billions in learning management systems adopted globally that may or may not be suitable for circumstances that employees operate in,” Jura said.