Anticipate tomorrow's skills: put the people at the center of change

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Anticipate tomorrow's skills: put the people at the center of change

19 Apr, 2018 09:10 am

The future of work will definitely include artificial intelligence, robots and automation in some shape or form. But how is the actual workplace evolving?


Yves Martrenchar, Head of Group HR at BNP Paribas, shared with us his strong beliefs about the future of workforce.

There are countless articles about a dramatic decrease in employment to come, due to artificial intelligence, robots and automation. These will indeed generate some job destruction but they will also bring about job creation. I do not believe this will lead to a sharp drop in the net number of jobs. But I am sure it will lead to a dramatic transformation of the nature of jobs; and consequently, a deep transformation of the expected skillsets.
"[...]it will lead to a dramatic transformation of the nature of jobs; and consequently, a deep transformation of the expected skillsets."
A recent worldwide study was conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute. The results are quite consistent with my belief. They found out that less than 5% of jobs are likely to be totally automated. But about 60% of jobs comprise one third of tasks that can be automated. And this is huge! In France, the "Comité d'orientation pour l'emploi" presented similar conclusions.
So no dramatic net destruction of jobs, but a dramatic transformation of their content.

This is the reason why we, as corporate organisations, must anticipate and help our top managers determine their short and mid-term needs and beyond in terms of roles and related skills based on business strategy. Once we have achieved this, we will be able to analyze the gaps between the skills they currently have in their teams and those they need for the coming years. And to measure how to fill these gaps either through people training and development or recruitment HR action plans.

We must commit to supporting our employees so that they can acquire the skills required to meet our future needs. This will be made possible through continuous learning but also thanks to specific upskilling paths that will be made available to all employees willing to acquire such skills. This will allow a large part of them to develop within their enterprises.
"We must commit to supporting our employees so that they can acquire the skills required to meet our future needs."
I should add that making this commitment is not only about being responsible but it is also the most efficient and realistic way to tackle the staffing challenge we will be facing. Of course we will recruit significant numbers of people on the market. But trying to fill most of the gaps through external recruitment would be both unfair to our teams, and very difficult to achieve. Especially because of the size of the labor market compared to the gaps that most companies will be experiencing. Notably for job profiles in Digital or Data.

Being able to have such a responsible approach will also help us build engagement. Offering long term development opportunitiestreating people with respect and being socially responsible are 3 of the most powerful employee engagement drivers that can also be observed in our Group BNP Paribas. Our responsible anticipation of our future needs will strongly nurture those 3 drivers, building engagement and advocacy, thus contributing to attract, develop and retain the employees we need.

Achieving this Strategic Workforce Planning is certainly one of the greatest challenges well established corporates face today. I am convinced we have the capacity to take up this challenge. And furthermore it is our duty to do it.

This article was inspired by Yves Martrenchar's post on LinkedIn. 

Head of Human Resources, BNP Paribas Group
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