Faced with significant transformation plans and rapidly advancing technology, many Irish CEOs report some level of emerging skills gaps across many areas of their operations.
For example, Irish CEOs report a likely skills gap in areas such as manufacturing and operations over the next three years. This speaks to the finding that over half (52 percent) of Irish CEOs are planning on increasing their headcount over the same period. Almost a third (32 percent) of Irish CEOs plan to hire talent from competitors while 28 percent plan on ensuring a greater focus on retaining experienced employees.
According to KPMG Managing Partner Shaun Murphy: “If you believe your organisation will change radically you need to skill up to execute your strategies and this requires both retaining and hiring the right talent and significant investment in training.”
Faced with significant transformation plans and ever advancing technology, most Irish CEOs surveyed report taking action to develop existing or future talent. Some of the options being taken to develop the talent base include:
Meanwhile, Irish CEOs (16 percent) are almost as likely as their global peers (17 percent) to look abroad to fill skills shortages.
The differing wants and needs of millennials and how these impact on companies are a major concern for almost half (44 percent) of Irish CEOs. For example, providing opportunities to learn, develop and work with leaders is one of the more effective initiatives to retain employees according to Irish CEOs. Meanwhile, global business leaders surveyed say that giving employees the chance to innovate and work in an entrepreneurial or collaborative environment is the most effective way to attract new employees.
According to Shaun Murphy, employer appeal is essential for all successful businesses - however, Ireland’s attractiveness as a location to live and work is also an underlying issue: “Irish CEOs are making strenuous efforts to recruit and retain the best people. Government policy needs to be in step with these efforts, especially in areas of personal taxation given that many employees not only have employer choices but also location choices.”
Despite the increased visibility of diversity as a business issue, only 8 percent of Irish CEOs surveyed rank the topic as one of their top three strategic priorities over the next three years. The figure for their global counterparts isn’t significantly different at 12 percent.
Shaun Murphy believes that Irish business leaders should give gender equality greater priority. “Organisations with more women at senior level are proven to be more successful. They have greater success because they reflect their clients and customers and because they retain more talent - thereby growing their overall talent pool.”
Darina Barrett, KPMG’s Head of Financial Services Markets, cites examples of initiatives such as the 30% Club in Ireland. With over 100 corporate members spanning a range of household names from AIB, Primark and Ervia to GE, Mercer and NTR, the aim is to build a collaborative approach of men and women working together to effect change. Speaking about KPMG’s lead involvement in the 30% Club and other diversity driven initiatives, Barrett says; “There’s growing awareness of the need to take gender diversity beyond a narrow definition of the issue into mainstream talent management - that’s what gets not just the attention of business leaders but also helps turn increasingly positive attitudes into action.”
Darina Barrett believes that a focus on diversity should help companies recognise that it’s not a case of women instead of men – it’s about having a mix of different people with different perspectives: “More inclusion leads to a bigger pipeline of talent. Encouraging gender diversity also encourages better engagement by men as well as women.”