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Employees perspective: workforce dynamics and emerging technology

Oracle’s AI@Work 2021 global survey, “Back in the driver’s seat: Employees use tech to regain control,” offers employers some eye-opening statistics and harsh truths about the realities of the job market as well as what they can do to retain the employees they have.

Baker Tilly’s Jeff Haynes, director of business development, discussed the survey of the nearly 15,000 employees across 13 countries with the firm’s solution architects: David Zimmerman, experienced manager. The conversation explored how employers should interpret the survey results in a way that could bring meaningful change in their workplace, including through the implementation of Oracle Cloud solutions to help them reinvent and reimagine their business outcomes.

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, the big story has been the “Great Resignation,” but Haynes said reframing it from the employer perspective as the “Great Retention Effort” may help shed light on the factors that have led them to this point and what they can do to change the course.

One of the most startling statistics in the report is that 85% of employees are not satisfied with their employer’s support for their career, which should set off alarm bells since 83% of respondents said they want to make a career change over the next year.

On top of that, 87% said their company should do more to listen to their needs, including providing higher salaries, opportunities for new roles or projects and more flexibility. However, leading the list of what they wanted from their employers was “learning and skills development opportunities.”

Lifelong learning is typically considered a personal goal, but it should also be a professional goal companies encourage by investing in new programs and technologies for their employers.

In the 1970s and 1980s, stalwarts like IBM and General Electric were known for offering impressive internal development programs, cultivating their talent so they rarely had to hire from outside. While recreating those types of programs at scale would be costly in today’s standards, thanks to technology and advancements in AI and other products within the Oracle suite, companies can create robust training and development programs at a dramatically lower cost than before.

Another offering respondents wanted from employers was technology to help them navigate their careers.

A majority, 82%, believe robots could support their careers better than humans, and 85% want technology to help define their future. Furthermore, 55% said they would be more likely to stay with a company that uses AI to support career growth.

In that vein, Oracle offers AI capabilities through its Dynamic Skills tool that not only suggests skills and careers an employee maybe interested in but will also create an ontology for skills, Zimmerman said.

The pandemic may have hastened the realization employees had about their career direction and work-life balance and opened their minds to new possibilities, but it’s now a reality that companies are going to have to address throughout their firm, especially when they consider one more statistic from the survey: 88% said the meaning of success has changed for them. Work-life balance, mental health, flexibility and having a meaningful job contribute more to their success than a steady paycheck, according to the survey.

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