The global supply and demand is rapidly changing; influenced by the blinding speed of technological progress as well as shifting mindsets that are adapting to the times. Korn Ferry has identified the emerging global talent trends that we can expect to take centre stage in 2020.

“The workforce is rapidly evolving. This year, we will see an even greater focus on transparency, agility, culture and purpose-driven leadership,” said Byrne Mulrooney, Chief Executive Officer, Korn Ferry RPO, Professional Search and Korn Ferry Digital. “Employers are also becoming more flexible in how they embrace technology, attract and reward employees, and create ongoing transformation at all levels of the organisation.”

“Signs of an economic slowdown, geopolitical uncertainty and the digital transformation of how we work, have shaped the priorities for the HR function over the past few years. These themes will continue to present both challenges and opportunities for the profession moving forward,” said Tamara Sigerhall, Market Leader, ASEAN, Professional Search, Korn Ferry.

“For small economies like Singapore, the shift towards building an agile work force and further developing world class local talent whilst remaining attractive as a global innovation hub is going to be critical for its future proofing. Companies that offer opportunities to employees to continuously develop their capabilities to stay relevant in the future workforce, whilst adopting holistic rewards strategies, that take into account the priorities of different generations, will have a distinct advantage,” she continued.

The following are several of the emerging talent trends identified:

Control, consistency, and closure is replaced by trust, purpose, and agility
In the recent past, a structured and controlled work environment was considered ideal. Bosses would oversee strategies and tightly control processes to ensure a certain outcome. Fast forward to today, and now leaders are creating an agile and adaptable culture where teams trust one another and understand the purpose of the work.

Purpose-driven leadership is on the rise as more and more employees are saying that their personal principal driver at work is the belief that their work has purpose and meaning. And purpose-driven leadership isn’t just good for the individual—it’s critical for the bottom-line.

Cautiously controlling hiring and compensation
Despite unemployment in most parts of the world being at historically low levels, organisations are beginning to take a more cautious approach to hiring and compensation practices. Roles that will directly impact the bottom line such as R&D and sales are being prioritised over traditional service roles like accounting.

Tech skills are in high demand at the moment, and organisations are hiring people who have niche technical skills even if they do not have a role to fill immediately.

To avoid adding to fixed costs, companies are becoming reluctant to provide across-the-board cost-of-living increases. Instead, they are choosing more discretionary incentives, such as bonuses, to reward skill sets and performance.

Effective diversity and inclusion
Many companies are now identifying and addressing the unconscious bias toward specific employee demographics, such as women, racial, and ethnic populations. Organisations are beginning to address structural inclusion, an approach that looks for ways conscious and unconscious biases have been embedded into the talent systems themselves.

In order to surface the inequities within their organisations, these companies are doing de-biasing audits od their processes, building inclusive leadership capabilities in their executive and senior management, and creating greater accountabilities for people managers.

Transparency in pay
Asking someone about their pay used to be incredibly rude and highly taboo. However, changing social norms have made pay transparency the way of the future. In an effort to promote pay equity, more than 80 countries have passed equal-pay-for-equal-work legislation. And of those countries, more than a quarter have a mandatory reporting requirement.

With these trends in mind, it’s not surprising that in a recent Korn Ferry global survey of human resources professionals, 75 percent say transparency on pay and rewards will become even more important in the coming year. HR and pay teams are strategising on how to create equitable pay programs, as well as how to help managers communicate with employees who may feel uncompensated.

Employee care in the world of AI
Keeping track of every single potential candidate can be a challenge. However, the introduction of AI tools such as chatbots provides more options to keep candidates in the loop. More companies are now using AI programs to inform candidates quickly and efficiently on where they stand in the process, help them navigate career sites, schedule interviews and give advice.

With the advent of virtual reality, some companies are now offering VR simulations that allow candidates to see what a role would entail, which can either enhance interest or help candidates self-select out of the process. It also helps employers understand if the candidate would be a good fit, based on their behaviour during the simulation.

These are just a few of the trends that Korn Ferry has identified. To see the full, detailed list of emerging trends, please click here.


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