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4 trends highlighting the urgent need for agility

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With the many emerging workplace disruptions today, it is crucial for organisations to be able to swiftly adapt its workforce capabilities to the highly uncertain business environments – something KellyOCG defines as workforce agility.

According to KellyOCG Asia Pacific’s latest Workforce Agility Barometer Report, titled “Agility + Ability – to enable business growth”, here are the four trends underscoring the urgent need for agility.

#1 Automation does not replace workers, it helps them achieve more

Despite the common perception that automation will displace jobs, the study reveal that C-suites in the region view automation as a positive trend to help workers achieve more.

Almost nine in 10 C-suite leaders in APAC agree that they automate work processes to increase employees’ efficiency and productivity, rather than to replace workers.

Additionally, 40% indicated they expect to automate a mix of low- and high-skill positions. By using machines to support their workforce in becoming better and faster, humans can then focus on what they do best: exercise empathy, creativity, leadership, critical and analytical thinking and more.

#2 Rapidly changing worker preferences

The current workforce is the most multigenerational ever, from Gen Z to the baby boomers all in one workplace. C-suites also recognise that workers increasingly want to work on their own terms. Despite this understanding, only two in five companies in APAC have clear recruitment, engagement and retention programmes tailored to each segment of the multigenerational workforce.

Peter Hamilton, KellyOCG APAC’s vice president and regional director, said: “As automation gathers pace, reskilling, retraining and redeploying employees to perform more analytical and higher-value jobs must take place in early stages of adoption of new technology. Additionally, companies must implement tailored programmes that address psychographic factors and design policies which consider the life-stage of each segment of the workforce. Companies must engage young workers differently from mid- to mature workers who have different needs and motivations.”

#3 The growing contingent workforce

One in four C-suite leaders in APAC reported that contingent workers made up more than 30% of their overall workforce, a 13% increase from last year. The report also found that the average tenures of permanent workers are getting shorter with half of an organisation’s workforce staying for fewer than three years.

As the tenures of contingent and permanent workers continue to equalise, organisations must stay focused on finding the best talent despite their preferred work arrangement – and employ talent strategies to attract, integrate and retain them, the report noted.

Yet, only 40% of C-suite leaders said that they provided less benefits and compensation to contingent workers, and provided an onboarding process that was similar to permanent workers.

#4 HR should lead the change through effective business partnership

The study found while HR departments are capable of hiring key roles within a short time frame, more can be done to provide strategic insights – only 31% of C-suite leaders in the region believe that their HR function is capable of providing strategic workforce insights, a decrease from last year’s 37%.

Hamilton said: “Increasing automation and changing workers’ preferences have led to a rise in the gig economy, even among high-skilled workers. It is inevitable that companies will have to tap into this valuable pool of resources to find the best talent available and not be limited by their mode of engagement – contingent or permanent. With these transformative changes to workforces across APAC, HR has a unique opportunity to rethink their role and be a key partner in driving stronger business growth.”

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