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Leaders bullish on tech growth, fret over skill shortage: study

Mar 04. 2019
Michael Distefano, Korn Ferry president for Asia Pacific
Michael Distefano, Korn Ferry president for Asia Pacific
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By THE NATION

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ACCORDING to a new study by Korn Ferry, business leaders in Thailand are concerned that a reduced talent supply may impact their ability to stay on track for forecast growth in the mid-term future. Some 46 per cent of leaders worried that they may have to increase salaries unsustainably to respond to the talent shortage.

Business leaders have ambitious plans to grow their revenue in the near and long term: 84 per cent reported they plan to grow an average of 36 per cent by 2020, and increasing to 47 per cent by 2030. They have similarly aggressive plans to grow headcount over the same time period: 80 per cent of organisations intend to increase headcount by an average of 37 per cent by 2020 to 48 per cent by 2030.

However, leaders in Thai organisations surveyed are more cautious about the availability of highly skilled talent than leaders in other nations: only 30 per cent of the top executives think there will be sufficient talent, or even a surplus, at 2030, as opposed to 48 per cent of leaders worldwide.

Still, they see technology as more important than talent in the future of work: 82 per cent believe technology will overtake people as their greatest value creator over the same time period, and 70 per cent ranked technology among their highest priorities when developing and executing their company’s strategy.

But the majority of leaders in Thailand do not see the future as a simple battle of man versus machine: 88 per cent also said their companies will need more highly skilled workers as a proportion of the future workforce, with the same number agreeing that technology itself will create the need for more highly skilled jobs.

To deliver their strategies, 86 per cent of leaders in Thailand have a formal forecast for their skilled talent needs – but only 9 per cent have plans that extend through to 2030. Although they are anticipating which roles will have the largest impact in the future of work, 82 per cent say they find it easier to create action plans around technology and other tangible assets, citing pressure from shareholders for quick returns and the short leadership tenures as contributing factors.

“The explosion in technology has vastly hastened the pace of business development. Flexible forecasting and business modelling are now more relevant than the traditional models, such as five-year plans,” said Michael Distefano, Korn Ferry president for Asia Pacific. 

“While scenario planning is critical to business growth, this rarely extends to a ‘people plan’. As skilled workers become the lever of growth in the new economy, organisations must shift this mindset to become more agile and adopt a long-term approach when devising their talent strategy.”

 

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