These workers risk losing the race to transform

A PwC survey of 54,000 employees worldwide reveals that many non-specialised employees don’t see change coming. The C-suite needs to give them a leg up.

The Leadership Agenda

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Workers without specialised skills may be heading for a reckoning, according to PwC’s 2023 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey, which polled nearly 54,000 employees in 46 countries and territories. Among the respondents whose jobs do not call for specialised training, a mere 15% predicted that their required skills would change in the next five years, and only 20% said they had a clear sense of how the skills essential to their job would be different in the future. By contrast, workers with specialised training are much more likely to see change coming, with 51% acknowledging imminent shifts in required skills and 60% having a clear sense of what those shifts might look like. And make no mistake, change is coming: in a recent World Economic Forum report, employers estimated that 44% of workers’ skills would be disrupted in the next five years. 

How can business leaders protect their people—especially those without specialised skills—from obsolescence and job losses brought about by automation, AI and other disruptive forces? They can start by:

  • clearly communicating to employees the business outcomes the company is aiming to achieve—including transformation—and articulating the skills and capabilities needed to get there
  • adjusting those assessments—repeatedly—as the environment changes
  • giving everyone in the organisation—specialised and non-specialised workers alike—equal opportunities to upskill and reskill, and providing those workers a clear path to accessing those opportunities
  • creating a sense of urgency around upskilling in order to empower employees to translate a vision for transformation into action
  • maintaining a consistent narrative around that vision, and aligning it with the company’s purpose and mission 
  • encouraging employees to ask questions, share their thoughts and provide input in order to instil a sense of ownership and inclusion. 

This kind of meaningful engagement and transparency is essential to closing the skills gaps that impede transformation and stand in the way of a more equitable future.

Explore the full findings of PwC’s 2023 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey of 54,000 workers worldwide.

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Contact us

Anthony Abbatiello

Anthony Abbatiello

Workforce Transformation Leader, Principal, PwC US

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

Global Workforce Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: (+44) 7789 003712

Sarah  Moore

Sarah Moore

People and Organisation Market Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 77 3460 7421

Parul Munshi

Parul Munshi

Partner, Workforce Transformation, PwC South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9660 5011

Bhushan Sethi

Bhushan Sethi

Strategy&, Principal, PwC US

Tel: +1 (646) 471 2377

Carol Stubbings

Carol Stubbings

Global Markets and Tax & Legal Services Leader, PwC United Kingdom

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