Deloitte’s annual Global Human Capital Trends report never fails to provide thought-provoking insight into the HR profession, and this year’s offering certainly is no exception. The 2019 report, titled Leading the social enterprise: reinvent with a human focus, collates responses from nearly 10,000 HR and business leaders in 119 countries to identify current trends. As in previous years, access to talent remains a primary area of focus with organisations becoming ever more innovative in how they recruit, retain and develop skills.

The alternative workforce

Freelancers, giggers and crowd workers were once seen as the minority, undertaking these types of “alternative” jobs to supplement their full-time roles. Now, they are a large proportion of the global workforce and many are choosing this path as their main source of income. This is proven by the fact that freelancers are the fastest-growing labour group in the European Union, with their number doubling between 2000 and 2014. Additionally, the rise in freelancing has been faster than overall employment growth in the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands, and by 2020 the number of self-employed workers in the United States is projected to triple to 42 million people. Given the dominance of this group, and the dearth of talent across several sectors, leveraging and managing “alternative” workforces will become essential to business growth in the years to come. With this in mind, it is crucial that HR leaders focus talent acquisition strategies accurately to ensure they are able to retain access to key skills amid this changing landscape.

From jobs to superjobs

While robots may not be “stealing” our jobs, they certainly are changing the work we do. As employers embrace robotics and AI, they are finding that roles can be redesigned and that there is also plenty of room for new categories of work, including hybrid roles and “superjobs.” Something that HR strategists must factor into future talent planning now that repetitive and time-consuming tasks are being automated, is how employees can have more time to spend on meaningful and engaging work that requires greater human input. Superjobs capitalise on this by engaging employees in roles that combine the strengths of the human workforce with machines and platforms. The result can be significant improvements in customer service, output, and productivity.

Accessing talent: It’s more than acquisition

As the war for talent shows no signs of coming to an end any time soon, businesses must be more creative and take a fresh look at how they approach talent acquisition. As the report highlights, rather than simply posting a job advert when a position opens, organisations must continually be on the lookout for candidates. They can do this in a number of ways, such as by mobilising internal resources, finding people in the alternative workforce, and strategically leveraging technology to augment sourcing and boost recruiting productivity. A professional recruitment consultancy will, of course, be able to advise on tapping into fresh talent pools using the technology at their disposal.

Learning in the flow of life

Aside from recruiting for skills, the report also highlights that new companies are increasingly turning to developing their employees internally. In fact, the need for organisations to change the way people learn was cited as the number one trend for 2019, with 86 percent of firms saying this is an important or very important issue. Leading organisations are taking steps to deliver learning to their people in a more personal way, integrating work and learning more tightly with each other. This must continue as it encourages lifelong learning, which is a necessity with ageing populations and rapid technological advancements.

Talent mobility: Winning the war on the home front

Organisations can no longer expect to simply source and hire employees with all the capabilities they need. Instead, they must move and develop people internally to fill skill gaps. This goes perfectly in hand with lifelong learning, and should be embraced. Internal mobility should be seen as a natural, normal progression rather than a major career change. However, this is proving to be a challenge. Only six percent of respondents said that they believe they are excellent at moving people from role to role while 59 percent rate themselves as fair or inadequate.

While there is a lot to take in from this year’s report, it’s fair to say to say that with the help of advanced AI and technology, the future of work is becoming more meaningful to individuals and the wider community. With HR professionals guiding their organisations during this significant period and helping to adapt talent strategies to be more effective for the modern day, greater access to skills can be achieved.