Employment Outlook 2024: Tech Upskilling Needed to Remain Competitive

A combined 69% of companies anticipate increasing their hiring needs in 2024, a recent Randstad survey has found. By Richard Kennedy.

As we reflect on the past 12 months, a rollercoaster of a year that included economic recession, wild weather, and election disruption, I truly believe that we are gearing up for a year of significant transformation, which is exciting but not without its challenges.

Our recent New Zealand Employment Outlook Survey found that while the business outlook for 2024 is optimistic, with eight in 10 respondents forecasting stability and expressing confidence that the economy will improve, the employment market is expected to remain competitive.

For example, candidates upskilled in the latest technologies like data analytics and artificial intelligence are worth their weight in gold and are at the top of many hiring managers’ wish lists.

It’s not surprising that more than one third of talent leaders are struggling with the rapid pace of technology change and the resulting impact on their workforce. However, it will not be enough to rely on our current talent pool or short-term fixes like issuing work visas to close the immediate skills gap.

It’s clear that businesses and employees will need to invest in areas like training and upskilling to remain competitive as technology advances continue to influence the future of work.

In fact, a combined 69% of companies anticipate increasing their hiring needs in 2024, our survey finds.

In addition, human resources (30%), accounting and finance (29%), and sales and relationship management (28%) are expected to be the most difficult sectors to fill.

These roles are essential to help businesses deal with an increasingly complex talent and cost environment, while gaining access to new revenue streams that will help businesses perform while they transform.

Additionally, we’re entering a new wave of disruption across industries, driven by the advancement and impact of generative AI (GAI). Already, the impact of GAI and technology transformation is evident, with organisations preparing by hiring new skills (62.5%) and reskilling impacted employees (48%).

GAI is expected to significantly impact the job landscape by changing, replacing, and creating new roles.

As businesses transition, it’s important to understand how GAI-powered tools work and determine how they can be applied to real-world problems to drive ongoing organisational value. Talent who are prepared to re-skill and upskill will thrive and drive organisations forward.

We know now that the future will continue to be flexible. While business leaders acknowledge the need for physical connection and engagement, demand from employees is driving the need to support flexible and hybrid work environments.

The ability to work from anywhere has gone from a ‘nice to have’ to expected. Employers not prepared to offer this option could expect a backlash from disgruntled employees and face difficulties attracting the talent they need. The challenge for leadership becomes getting the balance right between chasing productivity gains while also remaining people-centric.

While ongoing changes may seem daunting to employers and employees alike, opportunities will abound for those that are up for the challenge. As we look forward, here’s my pick of key workplace trends for 2024:

Trend #1: Increased investment in reskilling to close talent gap: Public spending might see reductions given the change in government; however, the requirement for tech-savvy professionals is expected to remain strong. The survey spotlighted technology skills as the most in demand skill, according to almost 57% of respondents. Despite the record number of work-ready migrants available, the real issue is whether or not these workers have the right skills New Zealand needs to bridge the gap. Organisations will need to invest in training and development programmes with a focus on technology and digital skills to close their talent gaps.

Trend #2: The rise of AI as a tool for talent management: AI has taken the digital world by storm and its impact on technology transformation is evident as more recruiters embed AI tools into their hiring processes. AI is expected to modify the job landscape by evolving current roles, replacing and even creating new roles. Organisations will need to stay ahead of the curve by continually assessing technological trends and aligning their workforce planning strategies accordingly.

Trend #3: Wage inflation leads to new employment incentives: Continued cost-of-living and labour market pressures are likely to influence the way employers look to compensate employees. With an anticipated increase in talent costs by up to 61%, expect that companies will be exploring new compensation structures and performance-linked incentives to balance employee satisfaction with organisational agility and sustainability.

Trend #4. Balancing the two-way street of remote work: While remote working became a necessity during the Covid pandemic, workers continue to demand it and we expect this to continue to be a non-negotiable remuneration benefit for many job seekers in 2024. Organisations that withdraw the option for remote working may experience a backlash, finding their ability to attract and retain top talent at risk. Instead, employers must seek ways to get the balance right within hybrid working models to enable employees to enjoy the flexibility while maintaining productivity and workplace culture.

Trend #5. Increased focus on employee value proposition to attract top talent: Organisations are starting to understand the importance of ensuring that workers are satisfied across the board, rather than just adequately remunerated. With the war for talent persisting, companies must also maintain focus on their Employee Value Proposition and demonstrate a genuine commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion to attract and retain top talent. Leaders will need to hone their management skills, focusing on aspects like mental well-being, onboarding and fostering an inclusive environment.

Richard Kennedy is Country Director at Randstad New Zealand and is responsible for leading its market growth. Under his leadership, Randstad partners with clients to deliver end-to-end talent solutions from recruitment to skilling, advisory, coaching and outplacement. 

Visited 127 times, 1 visit(s) today

Comments are closed.

A focus on culture

Rabobank’s 520-plus New Zealand employees work from 27 locations – places like Ashburton, Pukekohe and Feilding and from a purpose-built head office in Hamilton. Its employees are proud of the

Read More »
Close Search Window