CEOS from across the world believe that data scientists will be their most important workers in the search for future growth, a new global survey has found.
Emerging market experts were rated the next most important workers, followed by emerging technology specialists such as artificial intelligence (AI) professionals.
KPMG, which carried out the survey, said the findings suggest an increased focus on technological disruption, as well as a need to consider opportunities beyond domestic markets.
“The nature of digital disruption is potentially transformative if approached with the right mindset,” KPMG partner, Mark Williamson, said. “But incremental, measured evolutionary change is not going to be an option for many sectors.
“The time to change is now and the scale of change requires business and operating model reinvention. The C-suite cannot delegate change leadership in such circumstances – it is their responsibility.”
Six in 10 UK CEOs said they were hiring new skills regardless of growth plans, compared with less than half of business leaders from the rest of the world.
UK CEOs were also more confident on the prospect of AI and robotics technologies, with 71% saying they would likely create more jobs than they displace, compared with 61% of their global counterparts.
When asked about the use of contingent staff, such as freelancers and contract workers, more than half of UK respondents said they only had a limited use of them in their workforce.
A similar proportion pointed to uncertainty about the ownership of intellectual property as a challenge when relying on a contingent workforce, along with the risks associated with sharing data and information.
“There is now a real appetite to upskill and make new hires, but fears over security and the ownership of assets might constrain firms from tapping into temporary labour markets as part of this,” Williamson continued.
“That said, the need to respond to technology disruption is becoming such an integral part of business strategy, that we expect business leaders will increasingly establish their own training programmes and invest in external support.
Financial services companies are looking to digital transformation at a greater rate than most vertical market businesses, and are facing an “acute shortage” of skills as a consequence.
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