Businesses are failing to prepare for the future, says survey

by John Hilton16 Dec 2015
The future is bringing great changes to the workforce and new research indicates that Australian businesses are aware of it.

Indeed, 70% of Australian business people believe that new technologies will eliminate jobs presently performed by people at their company.

Yet the real cause of concern is that Australian businesses are often failing to be prepared.

For instance, the survey found 58.7% of the respondents believed their company wasn’t recruiting the executives they needed to survive and thrive for the future of work.

Moreover, less than 50% said that their own set of skills prepared them for the world of work.

It also found that just 47.5% of participants thought their company’s hiring practices facilitate the selection of employees with the right skills for tomorrow’s work.

The survey was conducted by HR service providers Davidson and featured input from business people from a range of industries and roles.

Additionally, it accompanied an academic paper by the QUT Business School on the future of work and its impact on business.

As part of the paper, respondents were asked to what extent businesses are preparing for changes, and the findings showed a distinct lack of forward-planning by most organisations, said QUT Professor Lisa Bradley.

“There was strong acknowledgement that the future is changing, but there was little preparation and activity in relation to adapting to these changes,” Bradley added.

Moreover, she said participants identified a focus on short-term thinking which was deemed a problem for the future and was worrying for some in the focus groups.

“Participants identified that one of the problems associated with a lack of forward-planning was the difficulties associated with workforce planning,” she said.

“It was felt organisations were aware they needed to be doing it, but were struggling with how to do it well in a changing environment, and so were often letting it slide.”

A large percentage of participants also nominated up-skilling and preparing a digitally savvy workforce as their chief focus.

Additionally, 71% listed reading and subscribing to blogs and articles as their preferred method of keeping informed about new technologies and their role.

The main means by which respondents were up-skilling included webinars, networking, engaging with thought leaders, training, further studies, and building digital and technology skills.