Friday 28 July 2017

The future of work 2017: Management and accounting roles most at risk from new tech

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Click to view full size graphic

Ellie Donnelly

Traditional white collar jobs are now the most at risk of redundancy because their repetitive nature and predictability means they can be replaced by technology tools in the hands of non-administrators.

Many manufacturing and production roles have long been in decline as a result of automation.

That has now extended to middle management, finance and accounting roles, as well a support staff.

Administration, secretarial, and receptionist roles are most at risk in many organisations, according to research from people management firm Harmonics.

Human resource jobs completed the list of top five roles at risk or in decline.

The 'Future of Work' study, which was carried out by Harmonics in association with OI Global Partners, also set out to find the skills employees must have in order to compete today, and the most significant people challenges currently facing organisations.

Administration, secretarial, and receptionist roles are most at risk in many organisations, according to research from people management firm Harmonics. (Stock picture)
Administration, secretarial, and receptionist roles are most at risk in many organisations, according to research from people management firm Harmonics. (Stock picture)

The study found that strong communication skills is the most sought-after characteristic by employers, with more than one in two respondents putting communication followed by leadership agility as their most valued skills in 2017.

Eagerness to learn ranked as the third-most desirable attribute. Emotional intelligence - an ability to recognise, understand, and manage your own and other's emotions also ranked highly in the research.

Understanding analytics, including an ability to read and understand data, projections, and demographics, rounded out the top five most-valued skills.

Meanwhile, the personnel people challenge reported by respondents this year is the ability to adapt to change.

This was followed by employee engagement, which has jumped from fifth position in 2016.

In 2016, the biggest challenge reported by respondents was attracting and hiring new talent, however this problem has fallen to third place this year.

Similarly, the issue around retaining key talent has also dropped in importance to fifth position in 2017 from third position in 2016.

When asked about effective talent development activities, the majority of those surveyed said that engaging in career conversations were the most effective of talent development activities.

Interestingly, assessments have gained in prominence as a tool for talent development, with one third of respondents indicating that they are the among the most effective development activities.

Internal leadership development programmes, mentoring programmes, and one-to-one coaching completed the top five effective talent development activities. Notably, self-directed career management resources, which typically take the form of e-learning offerings, are gaining in popularity.

The results of the research suggest that a key differentiator for companies in the future will be recruiting and retaining staff with good communication skills, and who are agile enough to work in diverse and changing global teams.

"Managers need to become human in their dealings with people, develop deeper levels of emotional intelligence, and become proactive in having career conversations that will attract, develop and retain the best talent," Harmonics said.

Talent managers in over 500 organisations across the globe answers the second annual survey on the Future of Work conducted in early 2017.

Of the respondents, 24pc were based in Ireland, working predominately in the financial, pharma/medical devices, food and drink and ICT industries.

One in two of the respondents to the survey works in HR.

Irish Independent

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