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Industry Trends


Embracing a Skills-First Future in Professional Services: Insights from the 2024 Davos Forum

5 min.

Skills First Approach

At Whoz, we have been profoundly inspired and affirmed by the synergy between our AI-powered, co-piloting cloud solution and the progressive discussions that took place at the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos.

The professional landscape, encompassing sectors such as IT, engineering, audit, and consulting, is undergoing a pivotal transformation towards a skills-centric approach – a shift that aligns perfectly with our platform’s ethos.

Katy George, Chief People Officer at McKinsey & Company, highlights the transformative potential of a ‘skills-first’ approach, noting its capacity to evolve labor markets and bring significant benefits to both business and society. She emphasizes the need to rethink our approach to work, from how we hire and develop talent, to how we structure jobs and connect skills within organizations. This forward-thinking perspective perfectly aligns with Whoz’s business value and underscores the importance of transitioning from a job-centric to a skills-centric approach in the professional world.

This article explores Whoz’s alignment with Kate George’s vision and the WEF’s report “Putting Skills First: Opportunities for Building Efficient and Equitable Labour Markets,” demonstrating how a skills-first approach can address talent shortages, close skills gaps, and boost business growth.

Transforming Talent Acquisition, Development, and Deployment

WEF’s Report Insights: The WEF report emphasizes the need to rethink academic requirements to broaden talent pools, signifying a fundamental shift in talent acquisition and development strategies. In dynamic fields such as IT and engineering, along with strategic areas like audit and consulting, it is essential to prioritize specific competencies over traditional qualifications. This approach prepares firms to meet current and future industry challenges. The evolving job market has seen workers, particularly older millennials in the United States, changing careers more frequently than previous generations. This shift in labor markets, driven by technology adoption, the green transition, and economic pressures, underscores the importance of facilitating access to new career paths.

Whoz’s Solution: Whoz empowers professional services firms to embrace a skills-first business approach, placing skills at the core of their operations. Our vertical skills management framework allows for tactical workforce planning and skill forecasting, helping organizations to proactively plan sourcing and training. Whoz’s AI-copiloted talent ecosystem facilitates the showcasing of augmented skills, enabling managers to swiftly identify and deploy the right talent for various projects. The solution provides AI-powered tools for skills gap detection and proficiency assessment anticipate real-time needs, thereby reinforcing talent acquisition and development processes.

Expanding Access and Promoting Inclusivity

WEF’s Report Insights: A key focus is to expand access to opportunities by looking beyond personal networks. This strategy fosters inclusivity within the professional services sector, helping firms counteract biases in hiring practices and create a more diverse and equitable workplace. The WEF underscores the importance of hiring based on skills rather than on personal connections, which is a significant factor in career opportunities. This approach helps level the playing field, especially for underrepresented communities, and expands the talent pool available to companies.

Whoz’s Solution: Whoz’s AI-powered Intelligent Casting Engine streamlines the talent search and matching process by focusing on skills and objective attributes such as availability, effectively eliminating subjective biases in hiring. This technology-driven approach democratizes access to opportunities, ensuring that candidates are selected based on their true competencies. This approach fosters a diverse and inclusive professional environment by valuing merit and skill over connections. Consequently, organizations benefit from a broader range of perspectives and expertise, driving innovation and better reflecting the diverse needs of their clientele. Whoz’s solution supports not only a more equitable professional landscape but also enhances organizational effectiveness in today’s dynamic market.

WEF’s Report Insights: Readiness for digital transformation and the green shift is imperative in today’s evolving markets. The Future of Jobs Report 2023 indicates that the core skills of 44% of workers will change within the next five years, underlining the importance of dynamic skill development. Furthermore, the green transition is increasingly being recognized as a major source of job creation, necessitating adaptable talent management strategies to meet these emerging demands.

Whoz’s Solution: Understanding the need to keep pace with these rapidly evolving trends, Whoz equips organizations to dynamically upskill and reskill talent. Our approach promotes the formation of diverse teams, enhancing collective learning and the effective deployment of newly upskilled talent on relevant projects. Whoz facilitates the development of talent deployment strategies for digital and green initiatives through tactical workforce planning. Dynamic skills forecasting and co-piloted analysis, along with a comprehensive skills gap detection system, enable the assessment of required skills and proficiency levels both at an entity and cross-entity level. This facilitates effective talent redeployment aligned with industry transitions, thereby preparing organizations not just for current changes but also for future shifts in the professional landscape.

The 2024 Davos Forum has illuminated the urgent need for a skills-first approach in the ever-evolving professional services landscape. Whoz, with its AI-powered solutions, stands at the forefront of this transformation, offering strategic tools for talent acquisition, development, and deployment that align perfectly with the emerging trends identified by the World Economic Forum. Our innovative approaches to expanding access and promoting inclusivity, coupled with our dynamic strategies for navigating digital and green transitions, position Whoz as a critical enabler for organizations seeking to adapt and thrive in this new era. Embracing these changes is more than just an option; it’s an imperative for businesses aiming to excel in a competitive, skill-centric market. With Whoz, organizations are not only prepared for the future – they are shaping it.