Sustainable employment under digital transformation and the pandemic

October 29, 2021 | 15:04
Digital transformation and the global health crisis are creating a double-disruption scenario to the global employment market, including Vietnam. Besides transforming and creating new roles with new in-demand skills, bringing more opportunities to create value, the scenario also challenges the employment security of local workforces. Simon Matthews, regional manager of ManpowerGroup Vietnam, Thailand and Middle East discussed the workforce trends and future of skills under the impact of the digital age and COVID-19, especially what employers can do to provide sustainable employment for a diverse workforce.
Sustainable employment under digital transformation and the pandemic
Simon Matthews, regional manager of ManpowerGroup Vietnam, Thailand & Middle East

ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey 2021 has highlighted four major trends in the world of work, including skills scarcity and digital transformation.

Companies are accelerating their digitisation and automation as a result of the pandemic, according to Skills Revolution Reboot 2021 research by ManpowerGroup. Up to 38 per cent of companies globally are speeding up their digital transformation.

At the same time, more jobs are being created than eliminated – 86 per cent of employers currently automating plan to increase or maintain their headcount, compared to just 11 per cent of employers who plan to reduce or hold plans to automate. For instance, in manufacturing, 21 per cent of employers are accelerating digitisation. Also those companies that are digitising most are creating the most jobs.

Sustainable employment under digital transformation and the pandemic
Companies are accelerating their digitisation and automation as a result of the pandemic

The available skills of workers seem to be inadequate for their roles in the future. The World Economic Forum estimates that one billion people will need to be reskilled, while up to 94 per cent of business leaders expect employees to pick up new skills on the job by 2030.

You may know that the skills revolution together with the crisis are accelerating the demand for both technical and human skills. Core skills are to become more digital-related. Soft skills, like communications, time management/prioritisation, adaptability, analytical thinking, initiative-taking and empathy, are sought after by employers around the world more than ever before.

Working together to provide sustainable employment for everyone

The health, economic, and social crisis has positioned HR more critically than ever as companies have had to take a #PeopleFirst approach and see HR firmly rooted in their business strategy. As per our findings, the top priorities of HR professionals today include employee’s health and wellbeing (63 per cent), new work models (37 per cent), and more upskilling, learning, and development for the employees (30 per cent).

At ManpowerGroup, we are proud to launch the environmental, social, governance (ESG) report, that is about environmental action, social impact, and good governance. People and prosperity is among the three ESG priorities embedded in our business strategy. With the belief that "meaningful, sustainable employment has the power to change the world", ManpowerGroup has been focusing on important goals to improve employability and prosperity for everyone, including championing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) at the workplace, prioritising health and wellbeing, reskilling and upskilling for the future, among others.

In 2020, ManpowerGroup has obtained several achievements in our efforts towards ESG regarding people and prosperity, to name a few as our INCLUDE programme that helps leaders incorporate DEIB into everyday actions and decisions, our OneLife Wellbeing and suite of wellness programmes that supported our 26,000 global employees through the pandemic. Notably, we have upskilled employees and associates via our powerYOU platform with 1.3 million courses taken by 105,000+ people.

Sustainable employment under digital transformation and the pandemic
Sam Haggag, country manager of ManpowerGroup Malaysia

Upskilling the youth and and staying connected with remote workforce during the pandemic are among their top priorities, as shared by my colleague Sam Haggag, country manager of ManpowerGroup Malaysia at the event with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs on employment security under digital transformation and the pandemic.

To narrow the national talent shortage, the company’s HR practitioners have involved Malaysian employees in an upskilling journey including resourcing capable candidates, suitability assessments, multichannel reskilling and upskilling opportunities, and finally deployment/redeployment in critical occupations. Since its application in 2005, the model has helped to train over 2,100 graduates with a deployment rate of over 90 per cent. Many employees witnessed life-changing transformation in their career with new roles and industries, and eventually increased income.

Apart from improving workers’ transferable skills, extra attention should be paid to their wellbeing during this time. Virtual coffee chat or welcome back gift sets are a few simple yet effective ways to engage employees and make them feel cared for and valued.

The ESG efforts have been shared by ManpowerGroup chairman and CEO Jonas Prising, “Now is the time to reshape a better, brighter future for workers – one that is more skilled, more diverse, and more wellbeing-orientated than we could ever have imagined.”

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