Access to Niche Skills Will Determine Tomorrow’s Winners

Some experts purport that up to 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have yet to be invented. While the percentage of new roles remains to be seen, we’re already seeing shifts in the kind of talent our organizations demand now. And we should expect that the skills in demand will significantly change in the near future as technology continues to accelerate.

Many jobs today would have been unimaginable just 10 years ago, from chatbot dialogue writers and virtual reality cinematographers, to cryptocurrency miners and drone pilots. As digitalization accelerates and technology becomes even more embedded into everyone’s lives, expect demand for niche skills to grow.

For human capital leaders, filling roles that are so new, or haven’t even been invented yet, may seem impossible. But it emphasizes the need for workforce planning and a focus on talent pipelines, training and succession planning.

Randstad Sourceright’s 2019 Talent Trends research finds that 57% of talent leaders are increasing their budgets for talent pipelines and succession planning this year. Even if you don’t know what the most in demand skills for the future will be, identifying individuals with the necessary digital expertise and adaptability will be crucial today and in the coming years.

Adapt or get left behind. Despite ongoing digital transformation, a study by IDG revealed that of companies founded 50 years ago, only 38% have a digital strategy in place. The lack of such a strategy is likely shortsighted.

Even if technology isn’t at the forefront of a business, it can still form its backbone. Just consider a media company having to curate an ever-growing database of information, or farmers using advanced software to maximize their harvests. As businesses implement new tools and technologies, they’ll need talent with specialized skills to operate and maximize their value.

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As a talent leader, you’ll need to quickly become an expert in how to source for and attract these emerging skills. You’ll need to position your company as an employer of choice for this new talent that will undoubtedly be scarce. And you need to start pipelining these future high demand skills now.

This will be critical in giving your company a competitive edge. But how can you build a clear skills road map for the business ahead, when there is so much uncertainty?

5 ways to build a workforce of the future. Many of the digital jobs needed today provide a good starting point, as many organizations already rely on data scientists and artificial intelligence developers. As technology continues to evolve, and machines gain the capacity to adapt and multitask like humans, a new set of engineering skills will be required to drive mainstream applications.

Here are five ways to find the niche talent needed to fill such roles in the future:

  1. Ask business leaders about their vision: With insight on the company’s near- and long-term goals, and how it will get there, you’ll have a better idea of the needed skills.
  2. Seek advice from internal subject matter experts: Technology experts on your team can offer their outlook on what it will take to be successful in new roles.
  3. Tune up the learning and development strategy: Instead of relying solely on outside talent with the niche skills needed for the future, you can develop existing talent for greater digital literacy.
  4. Find specialists on campus: A robust graduate recruitment strategy can ensure you find emerging talent educated on the latest tools and strategies.
  5. Work with colleges to develop niche programs: Help shape the next generation of talent by collaborating with local colleges to develop programs to equip students with the skills your organization will need for the future.

In order to evolve in today’s hyper-connected world, businesses must determine how to effectively find and hire niche talent needed for the jobs of the future. The companies that figure this out today will have an edge over their competitors tomorrow.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith
Michael Smith is Global CEO of Randstad Sourceright.

Michael Smith

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