Key findings on talent

PwC’s 21st CEO Survey: The Anxious Optimist in the Corner Office

Rebalancing skills for the digital age

The workforce transformation demanded in the digital economy is about much more than simply automating routine processes; it’s about the collaboration between technology and talent to unleash an organisation’s full potential. This means finding people with the right skills and capabilities, or instilling the workforce with needed skills, while protecting the employee experience and building a trusting relationship with employees, and wider society.

Rebalancing skills for the digital age
Accelerating digital transformation

Accelerating digital transformation

Automation and AI put the promise of increased efficiency, productivity, and profitability within reach, but only if CEOs can work out how to best access that potential through the right mix of humans and machines. For organisations it’s a balancing act between business opportunities and the inevitable impact on jobs and trust.

Many CEOs are struggling to identify those business opportunities at the necessary speed: only 47% say they know how automation will improve customer experience. As more individual tasks become automatable, jobs are being redefined. Success in an automated world will mean people and machines working together, rather than one replacing the other.

Workforce transformation on this scale demands an HR function that’s fit for the digital age. 60% of CEOs agree and are looking to transform their HR.

More worried than ever about skills

Finding and hiring employees with the key skills they need to succeed in the digital world continues to keep CEOs awake at night: 80% of CEOs say they’re worried and 38% are extremely concerned about availability of digital skills in their country. It’s clear that CEOs are looking ahead and starting to anticipate problems on the horizon of finding – and keeping – the right digital talent they will need.

76% of CEOs are concerned about the lack of digital skills (22% are extremely concerned) within their own workforce – and 23% are extremely concerned about the digital skills of their leadership team. This is a significant business threat. How can leaders truly make the right choices if they don’t fully understand the digital possibilities and dangers for their business?

In competition for the best talent

Talented people with hot skills have more options than ever. CEOs know that attracting, keeping, and nurturing the right digital talent for their business means the right employee value proposition. But they’re not just improving compensation packages, it’s crucial to create the right employee experience too.

The right working environment is top of their list: 86% say that they’re modernising their working environment, with 77% implementing flexible ways of working to recognise how today’s top digitally skilled talent wants to work. Knowing that digital skills need to be continuously built, 85% are deploying learning and development programmes for workers.

Nurturing trust between employer, workers and the wider world is essential. 67% of CEOs agree they have a corporate responsibility to retrain employees whose jobs are automated. 

Contact us

Carol Stubbings
Partner, Joint Global Leader, People and Organisation, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 77 3987 4275

Bhushan Sethi
Partner, Joint Global Leader, People and Organisation, PwC United States
Tel: +1 (646) 471 2377

Justine Brown
Director, Workforce of the Future research programme, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 77 1016 9938

Follow us