The best source of new talent? Your current talent

Companies are reducing costs, not headcount, meaning existing workers need to be reskilled for the future.

The Leadership Agenda

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The workforce challenge today comes down to a simple imperative: keep your best people, because you're going to need these flexible high performers as your business transforms for the future. In PwC’s 26th Annual Global CEO Survey, 52% of CEOs say that they’re planning to cut costs in the current environment. In the past, that would have meant reducing headcount—the biggest line item in many companies—but CEOs today are far more hesitant to reduce staff. In fact, 60% say they do not plan to reduce the size of the workforce.

A key reason is that the skills needed by organisations are changing more frequently than ever, due to increased automation and digitisation, the energy transition and other factors. Given the scope and pace of those changes, the traditional boom-and-bust cycle of human capital is increasingly unworkable. A smarter approach is to keep your best people—who already know the organisation and its culture—and upskill or reskill them for the new jobs you need them to fill. 

Here’s how:

  • Institutionalise the process. Reskilling employees should become an ongoing part of how your organisation develops talent, not just an isolated, periodic initiative. Devote resources and build the organisational muscle needed to train large numbers of employees across a wide range of skills.
  • Make ongoing training a key part of your employee value proposition. Most employees like learning new skills and taking on new challenges. Communicate to your people that they won’t have one job during their time with the organisation—they’ll have many.
  • Focus on employee empowerment, not just technical knowledge. Increasingly, employees need to be able to operate independently, with little direct oversight from their managers. Building that kind of autonomy requires training as well, so that employees understand how to make the right decisions on their own.   

Get reskilling right, and your organisation becomes more responsive and adaptable, regardless of how required skills change over time. 

Explore the findings of PwC's 27th Annual Global CEO Survey.

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Peter Brown

Peter Brown

Global Workforce Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: (+44) 7789 003712

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