CEOs are becoming more concerned about the impact of a skills shortage on their business than in any point in the last six years according to PwC.

Finding people with the skills CEOs need to grow and improve their business is becoming increasingly difficult. Three quarters of 1,300 CEOs interviewed rank skills shortage as the biggest threat to their business. This is a 10 percentage point rise since 2014 and up from less than half (46%) six years ago.

CEOs in Japan and South Africa are the most concerned with over nine in ten addressing the lack of key skills causing a threat to their organisations growth. This is closely followed by China (90%), Hong Kong (85%), the UK (84%) and Romania (84%).

Jon Andrews, leader of PwC’s global people and organisation practice, says:

“Despite rising business confidence and ambitious hiring plans, organisations are struggling more than ever to find the right people with the right skills to achieve their growth plans. The digital age has transformed the skills shortage from a nagging worry for CEOs into something more challenging.”

Increasing the use of contingent workers, part-time employees, outsourcing and service agreements are some of the methods being used by CEOs in order to fill the talent gap. Looking for a wider mix of skills and searching for talent in different geographies, industries and demographic segments are also being adopted by CEOs to close the gap.

Filling talent gaps is a major driver of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, over a quarter of CEOs say that access to top talent is the main reason for collaborating with other organisations.

A ‘gig economy’ is being created through this, where workers with the in-demand skills are able to dictate where and when they work and who they work for.

Andrews adds:
“Businesses are faced with a complex and shifting world where technology is driving huge changes. They desperately need people with strong technology skills that are adaptable and can work across different industries, but these people are hard to find and they can afford to charge a premium for their skills.

“Organisations can no longer continue to recruit people as they’ve always done – they need to be looking in new places, geographies and from new pools of talent. Businesses also need to make use of data to understand exactly what skills they need, and where they will need them, to focus their future hiring efforts.

“Businesses feel that the Government has an important role to play in solving the skills gap – six in 10 said creating a skilled and adaptable workforce should be a top priority for government.”





Amie Filcher is an editorial assistant at HRreview.