Recruiting and retaining trained employees for the digital economy are increasingly critical factors   for growth in Europe

Recruiting and retaining trained employees for the digital economy are increasingly critical factors for growth in Europe

The digital economy will be the main engine that will boost growth in Europe in the years to come. However, the lack of skills required for key positions affects companies' ability to evolve.

Although digital transformation opens new opportunities for employers, it is increasingly difficult for them to recruit and retain talent. And this will have a negative impact on the prospects for growth in Europe and its ability to compete in a globalized world where competition is getting more and more intense.

The latest EY report on Europe's growth potential shows that skilled labor shortages affect part of the business ecosystem of companies. Almost 75% of participants say that the challenges related to the lack of necessary qualifications have affected the productivity and profitability of the business. On the other hand, 60% of them mentioned the strong impact on revenue growth and the level of investment in new products and services. Therefore, the absence or lack of competence may represent a real risk to a company's health.

And it's not just the number of vacancies employers are struggling to fill - but also the type of specialists they find difficult to recruit. We often talk about specializations that are essential to a company's digital transformation.

For example, for the executives questioned the most difficult one was to find employees with computer security skills. Also, data analysis specialists, who can help companies better understand consumer trends, are just as difficult to find as those with experience in AI and in robotics.

Recruitment, a strategic priority on the boards of directors

There is a growing discrepancy between the digital strategies of companies and their ability to recruit the right people to implement them. Although 57% of study participants said they had an adapted recruitment strategy as part of their digital and technological transformation, more than 30% of those surveyed did not put it into practice.

Therefore, business leaders need to rethink how they attract and retain the right employees - starting with how they plan their long-term business strategy. A better strategy on human capital can improve the skills gap and can have a positive impact on the overall future of a company.

Increasing skills through training courses will be more effective than searching for perfect candidates

Mature companies already adopt active learning strategies and take steps to ensure that their staff is trained for digital transformation. Almost 90% said they are investing in improving the digital skills of existing and new employees.

In addition, they reassess the career of their employees, their development opportunities, through providing a flexible program and redefining qualification criteria to include people who do not have the necessary skills or qualifications but have the potential to acquire them.

Now, when a job is no longer alive, the Millennials generation has fully understood the need for lifelong learning. They see how technology advances and realizes that current knowledge is not enough, and this is also exciting and challenging for them.

"It's just the beginning of the new life philosophy that cancels the sequence we've been accustomed to: the educational cycle, work and retirement. Generated primarily by the growth of life expectancy and the unprecedented rhythm of change, this new philosophy involves an approach to the three major cycles of an individual's life in shorter sequences and multiple iterations. The new painting of a man in the digital age 4.0 will be represented by a series of learning cycles, application of acquired knowledge and rest, whenever a reassessment will be needed in the area of ​​new competency requirements in labor market. Hence, the stringent need for a revolution in the way organizations work in relation to the workforce. What this study shows and the directions to address the growing challenge of meeting demand with digital competence and management is just the beginning of a period of dramatic changes in the way we are forced to rethink the way we work in companies. The integration of non-hired workers, the so-called "gig workers", their flexibility and, in particular, the understanding of the need to integrate recycling time into company budgets are just some of the concrete actions to be implemented as quickly as possible, " says Andreea Mihnea, HR Director, EY Romania and Moldova and EY South East Europe Talent Leader.

What is important to understand for employers is that this creates great expectations for corporate training and enterprise development programs that should focus on the skills needed not only today but also in the future. These young professionals want more than good job offers. I want to be given time to these young people to take advantage of the available learning and I see added value in certifications that will be recognized externally.

 "Given that, in order to produce value in companies, beyond the short term after they have been integrated, people need to learn permanently, there is a growing question of their availability for learning. Providing more time to acquire new competencies is even more difficult in the current conditions of informational over-stimulation of the employees, phenomenon generated by the increase of the number of channels of human interaction in the digital sphere. If, a few years ago, the electronic communication that overlaps on face-to-face communication is mainly in email, now, beyond the fact that we use a lot more electronic devices, around 5, the amount of information we need to process is exponentially higher than a few years ago. These young professionals want more than good job offers. Thus, the issue of learning time is becoming more and more difficult to solve by employees and companies alike, having the prerequisites to create a real blockage, of the kind that we see now contradicting, " points Andreea Mihnea.

The future of human resources is digital

The digital transformation offered by Industry 4.0 means that the labor market is in the midst of a fundamental, unprecedented change in recent years. Lack of skills for digital jobs is a major impediment to their success. The demand for these abilities will only continue to grow, which means that the difficulty of recruiting will deepen before the labor market adapts.

"Romania seems to face one of the most difficult equations in this context; from year to year, Romania is climbing the top of the countries with the greatest discrepancy between the need for staff and the capacity to fill vacant positions. Productivity, on the other hand, is still somewhere in the middle of the European Union, the educational system seems more and more shifted to employers' needs, despite all the disparate efforts made by educational institutions and the business community. Also, the very high mobility of the workforce is strongly correlated with the short-term behavior of employers who are likely to invest even more if they have confidence in a related ROI, "concludes Andreea Mihnea.

An intelligent human resources strategy and a commitment to invest in the recruitment process, training and development of key personnel are fundamental to helping companies overcome their lack of skills. This can contribute to business profitability and performance, ensuring preparation for a digital future. Through partnerships with governments and educational institutions, companies can ensure that the right skills are developed and made available throughout the economy, creating a diverse and talented environment.