Technology and talent: Key takeaways from PwC’s CEO Survey

January 21, 2016

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By Robert McCutcheon, Partner, US Industrial Products Leader

Technology and talent. Two themes we’ve discussed at length in the last year, and with great cause. PwC recently released findings from its 2016 CEO Survey and guess what continues to be on the minds of the more than 1,400 company leaders from 83 countries who took the time to share their insights with us?

That’s right. Technology and talent.

In fact, 78 percent of US CEOs, and 61 percent of CEOs globally, are either extremely or somewhat concerned with the rapid pace of technology change. Additionally, 72 percent of CEOs globally shared that the availability of key skills is also posing a threat. And, most US CEOs (65 percent) say they are changing how they develop their leadership pipeline, knowing the next generation of leaders will need to be comfortable with new technologies.

All this being said, I found it telling that Industry 4.0, the next industrial revolution, was a theme of interest at the World Economic Forum (where PwC launched its CEO Survey findings) because what has become clear is that companies across the board, not just in manufacturing, are continuing to look to technology for answers. IoT is helping businesses innovate by creating more relevant products and user experiences, while digital native talent is now deemed essential for business growth.

I could argue that the talent needed to drive businesses through the next revolution will be those who are not only technologically savvy, but those with entrepreneurial mindsets who recognize the role technology is playing in driving innovation. In fact, according to the MoneyTree™ Report from PwC and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data provided by Thomson Reuters, it’s clear that the convergence of technology is driving venture capital investment across industries, challenging incumbents more and more.

Bottom line: We all need to do our part to demonstrate to the next generation of technology talent that opportunities abound…in manufacturing. Not only should we find ways to showcase the endless possibilities that exist through STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, but we should be speaking as much as we can about our reality: that some of today’s most technologically advanced jobs live within manufacturing and, at the very least, outside of Silicon Valley alone.

Reinvention is the trend driving global business. Of course, the CEO Survey cites many other topics on the minds of CEOs, but what was clear to me was that technology and talent are the key ingredients to future success in our industry, and beyond. Findings in PwC’s CEO Survey don’t just reiterate a long-standing trend, they reinforce what is needed to remain competitive in the years to come.


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