Learn With Leaders

Future Skills with John Healy

Published: July 19, 2021

Welcome to the first in our series of 'Learn With Leaders' — a new thought leadership series brought to you by Allstate NI Leaders. Each month we'll bring you the latest hot topics and advancements in our company. We're kicking off the series with John Healy, Managing Director, who talks about the skills of the future and what action workplaces need to be taking.

Learn with leaders - skills of the future with John Healy.

'In 2021 we are fully embracing the 4th industrial revolution and workplaces need to change to reflect the new skillsets and experience required. The 4th industrial revolution is more than just technology as it already shapes how we work, live, communicate with each other and carry out everyday tasks from making payments to watching a movie. The industrial revolution will impact businesses in four ways; product development, innovation, organisational structure and customer expectations. Because of this, it's vital we think about the skills needed for the future and what this means for the next generation of workers.

In just five years' time, 35% of the skills deemed as essential today will change — think back to five years ago from today, doesn't seem too long ago does it? The speed at which skills that are required in the workplace are changing is rapid, and employers need to keep up to speed to ensure the best talent is not only hired, but also retained. Companies need to focus on the development of their people and their skills just as much as their technology. Skills like data literacy, emotional intelligence and tech savviness are becoming the most in demand skills for the workplace today and of the future.

DevOps and Cloud deployment are in high demand currently in the market across NI, particularly for AWS, Azure, and containerisation technologies. However, research from CBI NI shows that 88% of businesses are struggling to hire Software Developers with the right skills, highlighting the urgent need for government, academia and business to close the skills gap that is continuously growing.

Northern Ireland is a hub for developing these core skills with an incredibly impressive talent pool. Using the data and insights from industry, CBI NI have drafted a set of priority policies and areas that are intended to better align the demand and supply for digital skills, as well as drive coordinated action from Industry, the Department for the Economy, Invest NI and educational stakeholders.

We are also lucky to have Centre's of Excellence such as the Cognitive Analytics Research Lab and the Intelligent Systems Research Centre in UU's Magee campus along with The Institute of Electronics Communications & Information Technology (ECIT) and Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queens University, Belfast. They are futureproofing the next generation of professionals. Skills in demand in NI continue to be those relating to STEM and it's anticipated this will grow as the world becomes more technology dependent..

We are in a period of unprecedented change — but one thing is for certain — the need for highly skilled people in jobs remains crucial no matter how automated life becomes. The workforce of the future needs to be adaptive, resilient to change and mobile. The advances in mobile working will decrease interaction time but can increase productivity.

In short — ask yourself, what is your organisation doing to keep up with the future workplace? The skills of tomorrow need to be developed today.'