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Volt International Practices – Looking ahead to the future

Looking Ahead

by Paul Ford

As Volt and other organisations look ahead to the future, post Covid-19. The old challenges faced before may still be there, and effects of the last few months will have created new ones. Organisations need to be prepared:

In Life Sciences, data-driven technologies are providing increasing levels of information, while the application of AI and Machine Learning tools are making drug discovery and development both faster and more cost-efficient. Talent needs to be able to work in close collaboration with the new systems to curate the data, and ask the right questions to maximise value.

Engineering & Manufacturing have to address shortages in skilled manpower and fully embrace digital transformation to achieve the cost savings they’ll need to compete. Those same cost pressures also mean that companies will have to plan, manage and execute projects far more efficiently than they have before. Technical skills in non-traditional roles are becoming increasingly important.

The Oil, Gas & Chemical industries have already been dealing with rising trade tensions and uncertain political changes, along with the impact of energy transition. The crash in oil prices through a lockdown-led fall in demand is going to make the short term a rough ride that will need the brightest and best to negotiate the best way forward.

Defence has seen significant growth in recent years, led by the United States and the perception of a rise in the number of threats to security, but Aerospace, recovering from a dip and seeing encouraging signs of improvement in the commercial arena will be hit hard by the pandemic induced grounding of entire air fleets and the financial knock-on effect that it will undoubtedly have. The commercial Space sector, bound up in satellite manufacture and payload launch vehicles, has been quietly expanding. But with the global economy concentrating on support and recovery now, it’s possible that the investment the industry needs will be redirected to more ‘traditional’ industries.

The Information Technology sector is likely to retain its importance throughout 2020 and beyond, though its growth emphasis may change. The much vaunted 5G roll-out is likely to be delayed. But the dramatic and enforced uptake of working from home will create demand and opportunity in a range of related fields from networks to security and disaster recovery, while AI adoption and infrastructure updating will also gain traction in the aftermath of Covid-19.

Covid-19 has exposed the existing global Supply Chain network to be deeply flawed. The drive for the cheapest at any cost created a dependency on one supplier, China, and when that country shut up shop, the dominoes began to fall. New Digital Supply Networks are needed to increase visibility of the entire chain, end-to-end, and create a more agile, resilient system able to cope with unexpected disruptions, from terrorist attacks and war to supplier bankruptcy.

Automation has hit Finance and Accounting hard. Many more routine processes can now be undertaken by an app or a piece of software. However, regulation, tax legislation and local bylaws change from industry to industry and it takes a high level of knowledge and application to make the right call. That level of talent is in short supply within the industry. Technology also needs to properly utilised so it becomes a valuable tool, not a problem to be overcome and that might take new thinking.

The ‘winners’ in the lockdown have been those whose business model already suited the situation we found ourselves in. Amazon have been making an astonishing US$11,000 a second. Netflix has doubled the number of its forecast new accounts to 16,000,000. As we emerge into the post-lockdown world and retail and other sales outlets become available again, Sales & Marketing roles will be vital, to direct a retail-therapy starved population to goods and services and maximise that opportunity.

The biggest challenges for Human Resources remain the attraction and retention of talent. A more flexible workforce, adaptable to change, is a great asset in times of crisis. But that same adaptability can make the move from company to company that much easier for the individual. Remote working, while an asset in many ways, loosens the bonds with company culture. Ensuring that the training, upskilling and motivation within the organisation is powerful enough to attract the best and keep them is key. It’s not all about the money.

At Volt International, we have specialist teams that cover all these areas, experts with in-depth knowledge and experience and access to a broad candidate talent pool of exceptional quality,  covering temporary and permanent staffing needs, as well as Statement of Work.

Contact Volt today and we can find the skills you need to meet the challenges of 2020 and beyond;