Australian employees fear becoming ‘digital dunces’

| May 25, 2018

An “alarming volume” of employees in the Asia Pacific region fear the prospect of becoming digital “dunces”, losing their relevance and being denied new career opportunities. Australia is not immune to the seismic shift in the traditional workplace environment being caused by the digital economy.

A new Workday commissioned IDC survey revealing more than a third of Australian employees expect to switch jobs in the next 12 months if the right opportunity was offered. This is almost double the number that said they were planning on leaving two years ago.

In 2018, Australian workers are demanding better pay and rewards, better career prospects and job security, and if they don’t receive it, they will leave. This is compared to two years ago when employees said they wanted to enjoy work, better pay and work /life balance.

Today, more than seven out of ten Australian employees have revealed that they are apprehensive about digital transformation. A total of 39% fear their job is at risk due to the digital economy, while a further 37% are worried they don’t have the right skills to compete in the digital economy.

The fact that more than a third confessed they expected to change their employer within a year was compounded by almost half (49%) of Australian employees believed that their employer/manager was not actively engaging in helping them acquire new skill sets to “future-proof” their careers.

“An escalating war for digital talent is driving this phenomenon. The changing nature of jobs enabled by digital technologies is unsettling the workplace landscape, looking back over the research we conducted two years ago, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of employees saying they would leave if the right opportunity came along,” said Tom Shields, Vice President for Workday Asia Pacific.

“It is an alarming volume that is creating the potential for a tsunami of workplace musical chairs and it applies to businesses, large and small, across a wide range of business sectors. Australian employers who fail to understand and react to its impact, do so at their peril,”

The IDC Asia Pacific Employee Sentiment Survey 2018 was commissioned by Workday to assess employees’ attitudes and readiness for digital transformation and was announced at Elevate Sydney.

“This should be a wake-up call for employers. Of the Australian employees surveyed, 39% feel that their job is at risk due to the digital economy. Almost as many, 37%, felt that they don’t have the right skills to compete in the digital economy and they are not receiving the upskilling they believe they need,” Shields added.

“The war for talent is real and is being played out across the Asia Pacific region. Employee retention, and ensuring key employees stay relevant is a challenge. Workday is seeing the value that some organisations are achieving by focussing on developing effective talent management strategies supported by data-driven insights to enable the transformation of talent management.”

“Our feedback tells us that Workday customers have more than halved the potential risk of employee dis-engagement through properly mapping out strategic skill requirements and aligning these with employees training needs and challenges.

These customers have left behind the days of solely relying on employee satisfaction metrics and are concentrating on delivering a commitment to improving their employee’s capability to handle the fast pace of change demanded by the digital economy.”

Shields took one bright spot for the Australian workplace from the survey analysis:
Australia was in the top three countries in the APAC region with 82% happy and engaged employees – with the proviso that positive relationships with work colleagues and managers were maintained.

Shields continued: “There is no room for complacency. The survey highlights a dichotomy in the talent market. Retention and reskilling are intertwined. Australian employees appreciate the opportunities offered by the digital economy and they are motivated to move if they are denied the chance to participate.”