Last month Future of Europa released the report Future of Work Study 2023.
Here are some of the highlights from the report.
In recent years, the labor market has undergone a transformative evolution, primarily driven by the rapid advancements in digital technology. Digitalization, along with the widespread adoption of tools such as ChatGPT, video meetings, and various other online services, has fundamentally reshaped the way people work and connect within professional environments. One of the most significant changes has been the rise of remote work, enabled by seamless communication platforms and collaborative tools. As a result, geographical boundaries have become less relevant, allowing companies to tap into a global talent pool and offer flexible work arrangements to their employees.
Harness the power of digitalization
Against this background Free trade Europa look at the emerging hypotheses associated with digitalisation and the labour market of tomorrow, as well as benchmark European countries to assess how prepared they are for the evolution that is well underway.
The study provides European benchmarking on digitalization and labor and also provides emerging hypotheses on the need to harness the power of digitalization; the benefits of new platforms and services for society and individuals; the issues that need to be addressed; and the changes that need to be made.
Skills shortage a growing problem
One of the findings in the study is the growing problem with skills shortage. Europe is in the grip of a skills crisis, which shows no signs of slowing down. More than three-quarters of companies in the EU report difficulties in finding workers with the relevant skills, according to European Commission data. Furthermore, it is in the digital sector that the skills shortage is the most pronounced. 40% of adults and every third worker lack basic digital skills.
It-skills is one of the most pressing areas of skills shortage. According to EU figures, about 9 million people worked as ICT specialists in the EU. The EU target requires to have 20 million ICT specialists by 2030, representing around 10% of total employment, with a convergence between men and women. Today only one in five ICT specialists and ICT graduates are women, which may affect the way digital solutions are devised and deployed.
Companies and organizations need a freelancer strategy
Another finding in the report was that companies and organizations need to have a freelancer strategy. They need to integrate all talent into the organization - this means a greater focus on motivation, inclusion and sharing vision, information and ideas - regardless of employment form. This requirement goes hand in hand with corporate openness to distributed workforces. For companies to be successful permanent employees, freelancers and interim staff all need to be engaged, pointing in the same direction and working towards the shared goals of the organization. This focus on integration with blended teams will be vital but also place new demands on company leadership teams.
Leaders need new skills
With the changing labor market, and demands of open talent, comes new demands for management styles and leadership that reflect, and are in tune with, the new reality. Leaders will need to be a coach rather than a boss and will need to adapt their style to the talent around them and be able to tailor their approach to get the most out of colleagues and partners. This will place more demands on leaders as the role becomes more complex and will require them to have a broader range of both hard and soft skills in order to be successful.
Facilitate, not hinder, the Platform Economy
In broad terms, digitalization has connected the global workforce, enabling businesses to hire talent from around the world. New platforms and services benefit society and individuals while remote work options and digital platforms for freelancers and remote workers have expanded the pool of available skills and increased diversity within organizations. Such platforms include Accace, Appjobs, Ework Group, Distributed and Supportwave. We are also seeing specific matching platforms for specific skills springing up and this will support the economy as well as the wants and needs of workers and organizations. These platforms and service providers should be supported and encouraged by decision-makers and opinion-formers.