Magazine
14:49 25 November 2021
Post by: Warsaw Business Journal

Meeting the future. Securing talent pool

As the post-pandemic labor market situation improves, there are still some hiccups. BY JANUSZ DZIURZYŃSKI

Meeting the future.  Securing talent pool

Difficulties in finding and recruiting talent are already a real challenge for companies. The challenge is likely to become more complex and acute over time. Therefore, when thinking about the coming years and decades, it is crucial to bear in mind a number of aspects shaping the labor market — from the demographic strategy to the reform of education and the Labor Code to global trends. Good regulations are at the heart of success. We need systemic solutions as soon as possible. We need to be working on them intensively right now. If that is not happening, then tomorrow we may find ourselves in a losing position compared to other countries. 

The global knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) industry has proven to be resilient and less susceptible to the crisis than most manufacturing and services sectors. The industry itself could be one of the critical drivers of growth in the post-pandemic era, with an opportunity to grow from 350,000 people in 2021 to as many as 650,000 by 2031. Its resilience is based on a new approach to work, with accelerated digitalization and process automation and a flexible approach to work.


TOWARDS DIGITIZATION

The business services sector is still expanding and this is likely to continue in the post-pandemic era. At the same time, the complexity of processes offered is increasing, with the trend towards higher-value-added and upgrading becoming dominant. Over the years, the industry has been providing businesses with cost-effective solutions. Cost efficiency will still be the most prominent feature of the industry valued by its clients. With rising labor costs, this will require the wide-scale use of emerging technologies such as cloud computing and social media addressed simultaneously on multiple platforms, intelligent process automation, robotic process automation and artificial intelligence to maintain or further reduce costs and accelerate growth.

In this situation, skills and in particular skills of the future, are becoming more critical than roles or knowledge. The top skills being pursued will be automation, data analytics and management of customer expectations. Public education systems are unlikely to respond fast enough to growing demands, creating significant pressure on wages. To meet upskilling requirements, companies of all sizes will significantly increase their outlays on personnel training. New employees will be sought from abroad and among older employees and employees from various sectors.


FACING SHORTAGES

It is crucial to unleash the innovative potential of people, which should begin in schools. More innovation is essential. There are huge expectations in the sector to innovate. Otherwise, Poland could soon lose its position as one of the top locations. The competitive advantage should be built not only on already available talents and assets. The talent needs to be fresh, strategic and exhibit innovative leadership.

An insufficient talent pool could become a significant bottleneck and a challenge to sustaining Poland’s long-term competitive position when upgrading and upskilling are imperative. Employers are experiencing a severe shortage of skilled IT talent, with the emigration of the talent pool from Poland and the continued aging of the population coming together to threaten productivity growth and reduce the availability of talent. On top of this are post-pandemic changes to the office work model, more remote work and insufficient knowledge of foreign languages in the talent pool.


WRESTLING WITH DEMOGRAPHICS

At the end of September 2021, the population living in Poland was estimated by Statistics Poland (GUS) at 38,151,000 people. This means that it had decreased by about 200,000 compared to the previous year. Considering the challenging demographic trends in combination with the increasing demand for the skills of the future, the task related to the provision of human resources is becoming one of the most complex processes, requiring coordination on many levels. It needs the engagement of all stakeholders — central government, local government and businesses.

At the same time, experts have repeatedly pointed out that the draft of the government’s Demographic Strategy 2040 does not effectively address the problems resulting from the demographic crisis, nor does it solve any of the problems likely to be facing the labor market in 2040, as it selectively deals with fertility. Scientists from the Polish Academy of Sciences have also criticized the way the demographic crisis has been simplified to fertility problems. They negatively assessed the fact that external migration was not included in the document. According to them, one of the most striking flaws in the strategy is the focus on financial transfers instead of developing the social services sector. The government's draft approach was deemed to be incomplete and even harmful.


COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH NEEDED

Based on the report “Business Services Sector in Poland 2021,” the diminishing working-age population and insufficient talent pool may become one of the most important barriers to the inflow of foreign direct investment and the development of processes based on advanced knowledge. A similar trend has been recorded all over Europe, leading dedicated EU structures to take numerous initiatives as a countermeasure. Maintaining competitiveness requires the introduction of systemic solutions, including the expansion of the human resources base with the desired skills, including the coordinated involvement of various ministries and considering in the long term such elements as adapting the education system to market needs, transparent fiscal solutions, labor law solutions that take into account global trends and policies on the employment of foreigners.

ABSL is working on the GBS Talent Map that will define the technical, linguistic and soft skills necessary for the development of the sector. However, it will be of key importance to shape them at each level of education, which will require integrated action by the government, local authorities, and businesses. It is, therefore, necessary to build partnerships with local authorities and educational institutions in the area of counseling, teacher training, or simplifying employee mobility. This is of key importance given that many countries are looking at the skills shortages of employees, noticing them and wanting to work on them. According to the estimates of the World Economic Forum, it will be necessary to upskill and reskill as many as one billion workers worldwide over the next decade.


Association of Business Service Leaders (ABSL) is a Poland-based organization representing some 200 companies from the business services sector. Janusz Dziurzyński is the vice president of ABSL.


absl
janusz dziurzyński

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