Making important strides in our world of work

August 11, 2021 | 4 minute read
Annette Wellinghoff
VP, HCM Transformation
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When looking broadly at data captured from across the globe by the World Economic Forum, the future of work will be a range of opportunities for people to tap into. These opportunities touch a depth and breadth of professions and skills. Individuals coming from a variety of educational levels and experiences can take advantage of emerging jobs by using valuable insights to guide their professional development and training investments


With the rapid changes in labor markets, HR leaders want to tap into real time data and metrics and use the insights that emerge to better understand what the future of jobs in their organizations will look like. 


Employers who are proactive want to pave the way for individuals to continue to develop and grow in alignment with the ongoing and dynamic changes. While it is great to share the positive opportunities ahead with the new economy there is also risk. HR leaders in organizations of all sizes are in discussion around emerging gaps. These are gaps in both the areas of gender and skills. Many executives believe that now is the time to address the widening gaps from the perspectives of organizations, professions, industries, and geographies. 


So where should we look first? At the virtually hosted Jobs Reset Summit in June of this year, there were discussions about technology adoption driving significant gaps. To avoid insurmountable hurdles the reskilling of 50% of all employees will be required by 2025. The key factors in play that are driving these predictions are being labeled as “double-disruption”. These factors include economic impacts of the pandemic and job transformations resulting from non-stop, rapid automation. 


It is also helpful to know that Future of Jobs Survey data shows that 40% of workers will require reskilling time commitments of six months or less. In addition to time required to reskill, CHRO’s are looking at the best ways to map the organization’s future in terms of jobs and skills and track the pace of change. 


Several organizations are also looking at changes in the direction of travel. While some see the transformation of jobs being driven by technological disruptions, it can also be positively viewed by positioning the changes as creating new jobs and driving opportunities to learn new skills. 


When speaking with CHRO’s many have expressed a belief that as automation expands quickly the demand for soft skills will also continue to grow rapidly. In the recent LinkedIn Global Talent Trends Report the data confirmed that HR leaders are identifying the need for soft skills as a trend across the globe. It is understandable when we acknowledge that soft skills including the highly valued skills of collaboration, creativity and persuasion are virtually impossible to automate. Soft skills are an important aspect to be addressed in planning and investment to effectively move and succeed for the future. 


There is another aspect to be addressed which is focused on women. Women were truly making historic strides before the pandemic arrived. The US Employment figures showed that the economic downturn triggered by COVID-19 has negatively impacted women in particular. The numbers of women who left the workforce has been at a much higher rate than men. Even as the numbers grow for those going back to work, for women it is a much slower reentry than men. Most confirm that the economic challenges for women will last longer. 


In addition, while the diversity data shares opportunities for people of all backgrounds and education, it also shows an imbalance for women to keep up with reskilling.  Looking at the World Economic Forum recent research data the big gender gaps are in the tech skills required for emerging jobs. When looking at engineering, data jobs, and cloud technology women represent less than 30% of those in these roles today. It is important for HR leaders to lead the way in closing this critical gap because there otherwise will be a very large impact on the direction of society, as well as economics.  


It is helpful to understand current efforts, including the Paradigm for Parity coalition, to fix the corporate leadership gender gap. Once again larger commitment and focus is needed. While there has been true efforts to improve gender parity by hiring with a focus on diversity and changing managerial practices to be more inclusive, the numbers reflect that the gains are not currently sufficient to achieve parity.   


While we have metrics and insights to help understand what is needed in terms of skills and jobs for the future, more focus on data is needed to ensure we deliver equitable opportunities. Leaders need to make meaningful change by evaluating norms that are impacting how we make hiring decisions and create policies.  Committed HR leaders want to level the playing field for people facing barriers to opportunities for the benefit of organizations and people.   


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Annette Wellinghoff

VP, HCM Transformation

Annette Wellinghoff joined Oracle as VP HCM Transformation & Thought Leadership Practice in 2015. Since joining the company Annette has had a significant impact on shaping HCM transformation strategy on the East coast. She works closely with executives of our key customers as a trusted advisor and strategist. She is a resource to help customers identify strategy execution gaps and position critical enterprise and HCM performance issues to facilitate transformation.

A recognized expert in Human Resources, Annette is regularly featured as a speaker at HR and leadership conferences, including HCM World and Argyle events. She has also co-authored books in the field of human resources. In recognition of her success, she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Society of Human Resources of Greater Miami.

A veteran of the human resources profession, Annette joined Oracle after serving in executive HR roles at Royal Caribbean Cruises, Burger King, Dole Fresh Cut Flowers, and CH2M Hill. Annette holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida International University and attend The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where she completed the executive organizational leadership program. Annette is a Florida native and enjoys family time with her two sons and Bailey her golden retriever.

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