The post-pandemic workforce is experiencing several significant shifts, particularly in how organizations tackle labor challenges and approach talent acquisition. One of the key factors for this disruption is the emergence of new, game-changing technologies like AI and machine learning.
Today’s organizations are facing staffing needs and talent shortages due to the Great Resignation, prompting them to respond to an uncertain future by shifting how they approach the talent acquisition process.
For this article, we interviewed Nathan Robinson, CEO of the workforce learning platform Gemba, to discuss the future of work and the workplace. We’ll also shed more light on how new technologies and developments are shaping the future of talent acquisition.
Rethinking the Traditional Talent Acquisition Process
According to Robinson, today’s talent acquisition process vastly differs from what it was like a few years ago. With the emerging technologies such as AI, VR, and quantum computing, many jobs considered in demand today didn’t even exist a decade ago. He adds that this trend will only become even more pronounced as technological advancements continue to rise.
“As a result, corporations will no longer be able to rely on higher education to supply a steady stream of necessary talent. Instead, organizations will have to hire candidates based on their ability and willingness to learn and then provide the necessary training themselves,” he remarked.
He added that, up to a year ago, no one had ever heard of ChatGPT and no one even knew what “generative AI” meant. Today, you can find job listings for prompt engineers and prominent language model specialists. Robinson also shared that technological advancement isn’t linear, with each innovation advancing and accelerating the pace of development, which can potentially change how organizations approach the talent acquisition process.
“We can rightly assume that in five or ten years’ time, there will be a whole host of new positions that today we can’t reasonably predict, much less expect there to be a sufficient number of individuals already skilled or trained in that role,” Robinson told us. “That’s why we will almost certainly see a renewed focus on talent development, as opposed to acquisition, in the near future.”
How Emerging Technologies Are Changing How Organizations Look At and Acquire Talent
According to Robinson, some of the factors that have prompted this shift include the pandemic, the rise of remote and hybrid work, the Great Resignation, and Quiet Quitting. He noted that because of these shifts, the “goals and psychology of the modern worker have changed dramatically.”
“This is why now, more than ever before, organizations must be clear and intentional about the culture they cultivate, the quality of life they afford, and the opportunities for learning and growth they provide their employees,” Robinson said. “These types of ‘non-traditional’ considerations are beginning to outweigh the cut-and-dry, compensation-focused costs associated with attracting top talent in some senses.”
He also shared that this new talent acquisition process can impact organizations over time, promoting them to shift away from recruitment and instead focus more on internal employee development. According to a Gartner report, 46% of HR leaders see recruitment as their top priority.
However, Robinson thinks that, as new technologies offer better solutions to labor challenges, such as on-the-job training, this number will steadily decline as HR professionals gradually focus on developing existing talent.
Emerging Tech as Both the Cause and Solution of Future Labor Challenges
“Advanced technologies, such as AI, XR, and quantum computing, are the driving force behind the looming skills gap in that they are leading to the development of new types of roles for which we have very few trained professionals,” said Robinson.
A World Economic Forum report highlights that by 2027, it’s estimated that machines will instead complete 43% of tasks that used to be completed by humans. This is a significant shift from 2022’s 34%. Moreover, it’s estimated that 1.1 billion jobs may potentially be transformed by technology in the next ten years.
While emerging technologies are prompting labor challenges, they can also be seen as a solution. Robinson adds that these emerging technologies, particularly XR, can help organizations overcome the skills gap. According to him, such technologies can help organizations facilitate more efficient, cost-effective, and engaging training and development, thus allowing them to overcome such challenges.
To help potential employees overcome the upcoming skills disconnect, Robinson notes that the training should begin with management, using top-down managerial strategies and lean and agile development methodologies.
Overcoming Today’s Labor Challenges
“Today, talent acquisition is seen as a key differentiator between successful and unsuccessful companies. While I think that will continue to hold true, I also think it will soon take a backseat to employee training and development,” Robinson said. “The industry leader will no longer be whoever is able to poach the best talent. It will soon be whoever is able to train and develop their existing talent to keep pace with the changing technological and economic landscape.”
At the end of the day, according to Robinson, embracing the unknown future of work and the workplace is about being ready for anything.
“As the rate of technological advancement continues to accelerate, the gap between what we imagine the near future will be and what it actually looks like will only grow,” Robinson remarked. He suggests that instead of trying to predict every last development, it’s better to be agile and ready for the unpredictable. This means staying on top of new technologies and investing in tools to help organizations become more agile.