Global business models are changing rapidly and radically, creating a need for policy-makers, businesses and employers’ organizations to innovate, adjust and become more flexible, according to the new study.
The skills gap is a major issue, with 78 per cent of corporate executives saying schools are failing to meet future employers’ needs, according to the research conducted by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT/EMP) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE).
More broadly, the report identifies five trends that are radically altering global business models regardless of size, sector or location; technological innovation, global economic integration, climate change and sustainability, demographic and generational shifts, and a global shortage of skilled labour.
The report, Changing Business and Opportunities for Employer and Business Organizations, stresses that businesses cannot meet the challenges alone and should develop collective solutions through Employer and Business Membership Organizations (EBMOs).
“Technological innovation is by far the most influential trend, and is fundamentally changing the way companies add value to products and services,” said ACT/EMP Director Deborah France-Massin. “At the same time, we find that the greater penetration of technology increases the demand for ‘human’ skills such as creativity, problem solving, communication and collaboration.”
IOE Secretary-General Roberto Suarez Santos said: “The report confirms that companies, together with business and employer organisations, that embrace connectivity and digitalisation will be the winners in this competitive landscape.”
- 56 per cent of respondents identified technological innovation as the global trend having the greatest overall impact on business.
- 76 per cent of businesses participating in the survey recognised that technological innovation gives them access to new markets.
- Global economic integration is increasing the harmonisation of corporate global governance, tax/regulatory and business environments, which is having a large impact on companies. 40 per cent of businesses reported that this has had a large impact on their companies.
- Some 37 per cent of executives mentioned increasing exposure to global economic and political uncertainty as a major trend.
- 62 per cent of companies in Europe and 58 per cent in Asia reported that a declining working age population will have a large impact on their business.
- 45 per cent of businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean and 39 per cent in Africa, indicated the youth bulge would have a considerable impact for them.
- 51 per cent of businesses said that policy-makers are increasingly demanding compliance with environmental targets,
- 40 per cent of firms from high-income and 45 per cent from upper-middle-income countries reported that their workforce and consumers are demanding more sustainable working environments and corporate values.
- 78 per cent of executives indicated that updating the school and education curriculum to match the economy’s needs would provide them with the skilled employees they require. This sentiment is particularly strong in emerging markets, rising to 79 per cent of respondents in Latin America and 86 per cent in Africa.
- SMEs are the most active supporters of changes in the skills agenda, with 84 per cent of small businesses supporting updating education systems to meet skills needs.
The role employers and business organizations will play in these coming changes is a key element of the debate around the future of work that is included in the report.
The study is based on a detailed survey of hundreds of corporate executives, extensive research, and consultations with EBMOs.