Addressing talent competition from outside of your industry

In late 2020, I led a team of consultants and an economist to review what roles we expected to rebound or decline post-pandemic, industry-by-industry. We got through about eight industries when what struck us the most wasn’t the uniqueness of each vertical, but rather how many of the same roles popped up across different industries. This pattern we noticed helped crystallize just how vital reskilling and upskilling efforts had to be if companies were competing across several industries for highly sought-after talent.

To be clear, each industry does have a few roles that are truly unique, and some industries, like healthcare and manufacturing, have a large number of unique roles that increase pressure on their talent pipelines. 

Ultimately, however, the high degree of overlap across industries captivated our attention the most. When we researched the most in-demand roles (by volume) for any client, we found that outside of the aforementioned outlier industries, 50% of roles were considered high demand in more than 10 other industry verticals.

The primary reason for this is straightforward — every company is becoming a tech company. There once was a time when “banks,” “retailers,” and “insurance providers” were considered just that. Now, with the proliferation of high-speed internet access, smartphones, and apps, it’s common to hear company after company declare that it’s actually a “tech company that does X.” 

Our research found that almost every company was taking at least one of the same kinds of transformation efforts: automation/AI, digital transformation, process efficiency (like Lean Six Sigma for example), investment re-evaluations (for DE&I), supplier re-evaluation (to address challenges like supply chain issues), or a complete talent realignment. 

The result of this is role ubiquity. Even in the insurance field, there’s less demand for actuaries and more demand for data scientists, which are unsurprisingly in demand in nearly every industry vertical. Retail companies are seeking out web developers and cloud engineers just as fervently as every other industry is seeking them out. 

This trend will only continue — especially as more organizations switch to AWS and Google Cloud platforms, use Salesforce and ServiceNow for automation, and generally transform their businesses digitally, while aligning their processes and strategies to match. Because of this, the demand for related talent will only become fiercer, and demand will outstrip supply. To compete in such a landscape and attain the best talent, companies must make a concerted effort to deliver on talent development programs that reskill employees from soon-to-be-obsolete roles and begin upskilling them into the roles where wages are rising and talent acquisition costs are growing the most. 

Written by Matthew Daniel
Principal, Employer Solutions

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