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The Future of the Workforce: Skills Required in an Evolving Digital Landscape

To say the digital landscape is evolving is perhaps something of an understatement. Before 2020, technology was already changing faster than we had ever seen, but after a year that saw entire workforces shifting to a work from home model almost overnight, 2019 in hindsight seems almost pedestrian. For JuiceIT, we pulled together a team of experts in people, education, and technology to discuss how organisations can support and equip people to thrive in these uncertain times.

Changing Work Environments

Just like organisations around the world, Data#3 was forced to adapt rapidly to meet the needs of customers and staff when the global pandemic struck. We were fortunate to already have a hybrid model in operation, so the right technology was already at our fingertips. It looks like the hybrid model is here to stay: 66% of business leaders say their organisation is looking at redesigning workspaces to accommodate this trend.

Still, transitioning to working entirely from home has been a real shift in mindset, especially for those whose roles were previously fully or mainly office based. In the office, we can more readily identify who is struggling, but in the remote working model, there must be a proactive approach to mental health and wellness. Our business culture revolves around collaboration and teamwork and retaining that has been crucial, not only to productivity, but to prevent isolation.

The course of the pandemic is still unpredictable, so we see this as an ongoing process, rather than an episode to be consigned to history. Now that the initial hybrid models have been established, we are seeing many customers wisely revisiting security. Cybercriminals, often well-funded actors, have been quick to exploit gaps left by such rapid, monumental changes in IT use, and the FBI has reported a tripled number of incidents since March 2020. When making any significant changes to the IT environment, our Security Practice advises it is vital to review your security posture.

Diversity and Inclusivity Matters

For governments, businesses and other organisations, it has become more necessary than ever to draw on the talents and perspectives of people from diverse backgrounds and with differing life experiences. This begins in the classroom: from an education perspective, encouraging students to interact with those from other backgrounds, abilities and mindsets promoting greater critical thinking and creativity and also prepares youngsters for workplaces where they are expected to collaborate beyond cultural boundaries.

As in the classroom, diversity makes excellent sense in the business world. Where a narrow perspective limits growth, the diverse ideas of an expanded talent pool help us to do things better. Any organisation must seek to include individuals who see the world differently and tap into new ideas and insights, if they are to progress and evolve. Technology plays a part here as an enabler, in particular helping staff with different abilities to play a role. This becomes a cycle, in which including people from different backgrounds when developing technology makes that technology relevant to a broader and more diverse range of people.

Skills to Build the Future

The digital workforce has evolved so fast that some of the most in-demand roles didn’t exist just five years ago. A gap in availability of skilled resources – worsened by the current inability to leverage skilled people from abroad – mean that organisations must compete to attract the right people. Some have become adept at demonstrating their value as an employer, offering flexible working, thoughtful benefits and conditions, and attractive salary packages as well as career progression and skill development opportunities.

Technology is an exciting space for candidates wanting something beyond a traditional role. Amidst an explosion of technology and support needs, the low numbers of candidates leaving university with STEM qualifications is a challenge that the industry is working with educators to overcome. Attracting and retaining the best people is a focus, so we work with a number of industry groups, and partner with  a number of schools and TAFEs to help highlight the opportunities available.

Not surprisingly, with technology continually shifting and evolving, new roles are emerging constantly. We are finding that customers have new requirements for technology specialists boasting hybrid skills, with FinOps roles to manage cloud spend especially in demand. The catalyst for this is the cloud-led agility that allows actions in real time, prompting new disciplines that require technology, business, finance and governance skills to come together more closely than before.

Beyond technical skills, there is an increased focus on ‘soft’ skills that will prepare students for a world where the roles they will occupy may not yet exist. How do schools and universities ready youngsters for this uncertainty? We are seeing an increased emphasis on creativity, critical thinking, resilience and the expectation that learning does not end at graduation. Those of us already in the workforce can learn much from this approach and it is essential that organisations consider the skills, development and training that will equip existing staff to keep pace. While we don’t know everything the future will bring, we do know that we must continue to work with others inside and outside our industry to forge the best path ahead.

Why Data#3

At Data#3, as an Employer of Choice, our vision is to harness the power of people and technology to enable a better future.

A multi-time Employer of Choice Award winner, we are proud to offer Data#3 staff a supportive, collaborative and invigorating working environment.

Whether you’re just starting your career journey or have years of professional experience under your belt, Data#3 may be the right fit for you.

Explore available Data#3 positions here.

View available Data#3 affiliate roles here, through the Data#3 Resourcing team.

Tags: JuiceIT, JuiceIT 2021

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