Data in the survey identifies the core issues and solutions for employers as of February 2020:
In the current crisis businesses will be primarily concerned with how to leverage the workforce to ensure business continuity and how to minimise the negative economic impact on their staff. However, the challenge around retraining staff for new technologies will grow as new technologies become critical for survival. This goes hand in glove with the need for senior management to balance employee loyalty (after many have worked through a hugely challenging period) with the commercial need to replace roles with new technology. This will become one of the biggest challenges moving forward.
To help ensure continuity, businesses should investigate how to use technology to do the repetitive tasks and invest in training which will help jobs evolve and move people up the value curve.
The state is now going to play a much bigger role in the economy. With governments announcing incredible financial stimulus packages of fiscal spending, it will be interesting to see how that money will be spent to give the best return for society. In the early days of the crisis the focus will be on loans and underwriting payroll costs to keep the lights on. Moving forward, post peak, we will expect to see questions on training and education as part of the rebuild. An investment to re-skill and address the ever-present talent gap will be welcome and businesses want to see this start at the grass roots:
Regarding education, it will also be interesting to see what the implications of the social distancing shift will bring to the future of this industry. One possible scenario will be that if schools look to embrace distance learning as part of the mainstream rather than the periphery, then education can be delivered for a fraction of the cost. Ergo, existing budgets should go much further, and money can be freed up to address and deliver fundamental change.