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APAC talent needs technology reboot and upgrade to keep companies competitive

Richard Goddard, Managing Director, Southeast Asia and Head of the Technology Practice APAC & Japan, Harvey Nash Executive Search | Dec. 22, 2016
New emerging roles to watch out for in 2017

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The talk of adequate talent within the IT sector and where companies are falling short, has been gaining momentum in the face of the region's exponential growth and speed of cross-industry technological advancement.

At the recent National Cybersecurity Strategy in Singapore on October 10 2016, Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong addressed the importance of having cybersecurity measures in place that aim to ensure that the technological infrastructure of the smart nation remains safe. During the discussion centered around cybersecurity, the importance of addressing the talent shortage was a prominent reference point and is an issue that resonates throughout the region.

Harvey Nash's annual CIO Survey, in partnership with KPMG, focuses on the impact and concerns of the global talent gap. In 2016, we found that 83 per cent of CIOs in APAC believe their organisation's ability to keep up with the pace of change was hindered by the lack of talent - a common concern shared with their global counterparts. Organisations are currently facing the greatest technology skills shortage since the global financial crisis almost ten years ago.

With this drive for innovation and technology advancement taking place during a period of economic slowdown, there was ultimately going to be a gap between ideal numbers and the actual talent pool qualified to accommodate the expansion. This is highly evident in Asia, as companies and governments look to rapidly grow their IT development and digitization efforts, yet they are facing exceptional technology talent shortages.  

In the last year, companies have been grappling with exponential growth, funding support and the arrival of roles evolved from the advancement of technology.

The rise of CDOs

In Singapore, the focus on digital-enabled talent is embodied by the rise of the Chief Digital Officer driven by the 46 per cent increased adoption of an enterprise-wide digital business strategy, higher than the global adoption at 35 per cent. This positions Singapore ahead of the region in terms of handling digital challenges, and in return plays a large part in the shortage of talent.

New roles are being created out of necessity, but we need to ensure there are people capable of filling the required skillsets.

Growth of roles exceeding skills growth

A recurring trend that we have discovered within the region and globally, is that digitization is a key skillset disruptor. For example, a study by the World Economic Forum highlighted that digital transformation created new roles in which new skills are required. In the study, 73 per cent of CEOs mentioned that a major threat to their operations is the skills gap as there were not enough qualified candidates to fill these new roles.

 

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