Future of Work

With industry 4.0 on the horizon, companies are rapidly rethinking the way they staff their technology departments, according to research from recruitment specialist Robert Half Technology.

The study, which asked CIOs from across the UK for their views on the current trends impacting the modern workplace, found that 41% think the internet of things is having a profound effect on the way they staff their department. This is followed by cloud computing (40% of CIOs) and automation (34% of CIOs). These are the key factors changing the scope of the roles and the skills required for success, for both employees and employers.

As the roles of tomorrow are being shaped by digitalisation, so too are the skills required. With artificial intelligence (AI) taking over manual tasks susceptible to human error, more time is available for strategic, innovative and customer-focused tasks, to add value to AI and to drive the digitalisation of business. Consequently, skills such as strategic planning (50%), problem-solving (40%) and interpersonal and communication skills (35%) are now cited as crucial for success.

The digital technology sector is expanding 2.6 times faster than the rest of the UK economy, according to a report from Tech Nation2. It is worth almost £184 billion to the UK, boasting a job increase that is five times the rate of the rest of the economy.  Several roles exist today that were not around five years ago. For example, cybersecurity roles (applications security specifically), Data Protection Officer, Data Scientist, DevOps, and AI/machine learning roles are all new.

However, irrespective of impressive growth and success, adequate staffing for the influx of new roles has created difficulties in finding the right talent. Firms remain understaffed as they struggle to find the candidates needed; nearly three in 10 (29%) CIOs state their teams are understaffed, increasing to 42% for those in large companies.

Steve Sully, Associate Director at Robert Half Technology commented: “Automation and digitalisation is compounding the evolution of the future workplace in the lead up to industry 4.0. As companies come to grips with the opportunities these technologies can have on their business, they need the right skills to support these changes, however they are in short supply

“The technology sector is more susceptible to the war for talent than any other industry, and as such it needs to rethink its hiring and retention strategies. Attracting the right candidates in today’s market requires a review of hiring practices. Strong candidates are in the driving seat when looking for their next opportunity and are often receiving multiple offers. Employers need to be able to quickly and effectively identify talent potential alongside skills. This requires adopting flexible hiring practices and redefining the must-have and nice-to-have characteristics of your potential new hire.”

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