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To get ahead, mastery of new ABCs a must

By: - Reporter / @neltayao
/ 05:03 AM October 30, 2017

Are you actively seeking employment? If you are, then make sure you know your ABCs—meaning artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing—as employers are now hiring more people with these digital skills.

According to the report “The Digital Workforce of the Future” by Talent Solutions, the recruitment service of online professional network LinkedIn, the hiring demand for “ABC talent” has risen this year in the Asia-Pacific region as more CEOs recognize the value of technology and its important role in helping companies stay ahead of their competition.

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Big data talent is the most in demand in almost all of the Apac countries, including the Philippines, the report says, replacing software engineering management, which was the top-ranked hiring skill in 2016.

“It is safe to say Big Data is no longer an emerging technology, but rather a veteran fixture of the modern digital economy. Though it may be less imminent than a decade ago, finding suitable talent to build and manage the infrastructure required to safely collect and store massive amounts of data (and then creating value out of them) continues to be crucial for businesses,” the report reads.

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Among industries, it’s the traditional ones which are aggressively increasing the number of their digital talent hires, compared with their overall hiring.

Agriculture saw the highest growth of digital hires, followed by transportation and logistics, legal, retail and healthcare. However, software and IT services remain the top industry with the greatest proportion of Apac’s digital talent, followed by hardware and networking, media and communications, entertainment, and corporate services.

What’s notable is that most of the region’s ABC talent are homegrown—almost 90 percent, compared to the United States’ and Europe’s 5 percent, the report says, and the majority come from China, India, and Australia.

Along with this, though, comes an unsettling discovery: Apac is losing its talent to other countries.

Talent Solutions’ data show that while the region enjoys an inflow of talent from countries such as the US, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates, it also loses nearly twice as much talent to these countries.

“This is a major threat to organizations aiming to build digital capabilities,” the report reads. “The net loss of talent should fire up talent teams to train and upskill existing with the necessary digital skills—as well as attract back local talent who have ventured abroad.”

The report cites three fundamental pillars to ensure the establishment of a strong digital future for Apac: government initiatives, organizational change, and educational support.

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Under government initiatives, the report makes an example of India and Singapore—the former established its vision for a Digital India in 2015, with the “overall aim to transform the entire ecosystem of public services through IT, moving the nation forward to become a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy”; while the latter has a Smart Nation initiative in place, which “involves digitally up-skilling talent, combined with government policy and business initiatives to co-create Singapore’s future and use technology to overcome impending mega-trends such as aging populations and urban density.”

The two countries again take center stage when it comes to organizational change.

Singapore’s DDS Bank is investing $20 million over the next five years in a program that will educate 10,000 local employees on digital banking and the industry’s emerging technologies—a move that’s in line with the country’s Smart Nation initiative. SAP India, an enterprise application software company, is going the same way, aligning its “skill, reskill, and upskill” program with the country’s Digital India plans.

And as today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, the report also calls on Apac’s academia to embrace digital change.

“Beyond equipping young talent with the right skills to enter a digital workforce, tertiary institutions and schools are also under increasing pressure to help students cope with the lifecycle of change,” says the report. “At the pace of this digital revolution, what talent learns at school might only be relevant for a number of years —what candidates truly need is the ability to learn, think and upskill themselves.”

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