Securing Talent

We look at the double challenge of being able to attract the very best talent to work in the world of trade and also in ensuring that the next generation is equipped with the right mix of skills and abilities. As the elite global nomads take to the fore, it raises questions on how and where talent will align with the emerging trade infrastructure.

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Social scientists like to define the world in neat categories. The Baby Boomers were followed by Generation X and, with a new century, Generation Y. Now, it seems, is the time of Generation Mashup.

This is a demographic born to the challenges of the digital age; where the skills needed today will seem antiquated in barely two years’ time. To thrive, or even survive, in this world is one of the great challenges, not just for Generation Mashup but all of us.

A new report, The Future of Trade, commissioned by DMCC, shows how individuals, companies and governments will all want to listen to its message.

At its core is this paradox. Companies find it increasingly hard to recruit the right people for the right job. Yet many professionals complain they cannot find work. Why? Because they have the right skills in the wrong place or simply the wrong skills for a world that is increasingly tech-dominated and interconnected.

Employers are equally to blame. They prefer to recruit from prestigious academic institutions without bothering to find out if these graduates have useful skills. Historically, simply having a degree has always paid dividends; in the future companies will need to take a much harder look at who they are hiring.

It is a task that nature of the new skills makes difficult. Technology is moving so fast - for example in the world of web design - that employers find it hard to identify who is right for the job. Both the education system and industry will need to figure this out.

Some have seen the future clearer than others. In the field of science, technology, engineering and maths, two thirds of graduates will come from India and China by 2030. In the United States there are now more Chinese studying for their doctorate than Americans.

Cities and countries will also have to rethink the way they do business. The future is likely to belong to what the report calls “elite global nomads”, a group whose mastery of key skills will eventually allow them to wield power and corporate influence is way the governments can only dream of. Persuading them to come and then stay is another challenge.

It points to what some already understand - that there is no such thing as a job for life and that the future of work will require a portfolio of multiple projects and a mastery of evolving technology.

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For the last 12 months DMCC, the authority on trade, enterprise and commodities in Dubai, has teamed up with FutureAgenda on an odyssey to discover the future of global trade. We gathered industry leaders, academics and experts in five key cities to discuss how global trade will change in the next decade and how it will drive the global economy into the next phase of growth.

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Securing Talent – Mark Houghton

Universities Must Set a New Standard

In some countries, particularly in the US, universities build their reputation on research output rather than the quality of their students so that employers find it difficult to measure the quality of education their employees have received. Without a recognised standard which measures capability many employers simply don’t even try to find out what students have actually learned, preferring instead to recruit graduates from high prestige universities, not because of what they were taught at college, rather because of the effort they made to get there.

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Certified Skills Key to Bright Career Path

Alongside new skills, professional certification is set to become a key issue over the next decade as it often lags behind professional requirement. Its lack of effectiveness means that companies have to spend unnecessary time and money identifying suitable candidates. Without certified standard skills…it is difficult for employers to know who to hire and whose experience is valuable because the technology is changing so fast; equally employees have limited incentives to put time and effort into learning on the job if they are uncertain about the future prospects of the particular version of technology their employer uses.

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Clearly organisations themselves are looking to take advantage of new markets and are globalising as a result. Digitalisation is having a massive impact on workforce migrations with Uber and Airbnb being some obvious ones, and things like cloud computing meaning that workforces can set up in new markets very quickly.

Mark Houghton
Managing Partner
Odgers Berndtson

Key Facts

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$17m
Amount per year Tata Group spends on education, health and environment

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15%
The average amount graduates are paid more than those with no degree

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In 2015 New York was ranked the most competitive city in the world, with London second

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41%
of all employees in the global workforce have a bachelor's degree

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350k
The number of Chinese people who came home from overseas study in 2013

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57%
of women aged 25-34 are thinking of taking up some kind of international career

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Our Partners for Future of Trade

Download the Whitepaper

For the last 12 months DMCC, the authority on trade, enterprise and commodities in Dubai, has teamed up with FutureAgenda on an odyssey to discover the future of global trade. We gathered industry leaders, academics and experts in five key cities to discuss how global trade will change in the next decade and how it will drive the global economy into the next phase of growth.

Download PDF

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