Every once in a while as I am perusing articles in the morning I stumble upon a piece or study that I would really like to spend a lot more time with, but don’t have the ability to do so. This morning’s article from China Gorman wherein she summarizes an SAP report examining the evolving global workforce is one such piece. You can read it here, and when you’re finished you can do a deep dive into the report’s insights here.

With that said, while there is a lot I love about the post (and the research it’s based on), I don’t have enough time to do it all justice. But I would like to touch on one particular set of facts that floored me: Drawing from 2,7000+ executives responses across 27 countries, the study found that 83% of execs plan to increase the use of contingent/intermittent/consultant labor over the next three years. The same study also found that the number one attribute executives are seeking in employees is a high level of education and/or institutional training, and that the number one workforce strategy problem facing employers is – as identified by 50% of respondents – difficulty recruiting specialized employees. Reading between the lines here, one narrative emerging from the data is clear:

The skilled talent gap has now grown so large that employers are going to unprecedented lengths to fill it, greatly increasing contingent labor despite a stated preference for loyalty and long-term commitment in employees (32% named this quality the most important one they seek in talent).

…My read of this is that the skills gap and accompanying sea change in workforce strategy positions those that develop high-demand technical competencies for incredible degrees of prosperity in the coming years. For some that will mean out-sized compensation to move into a permanent role at one firm, while others will achieve the same ends as contractors-for-hire with multiple companies.

…And I know I write this all the time, but it has never, ever, ever been easier to build technical competency in the subject(s) of your choice through self-directed learning. It’s just a matter of understanding where the market is headed and where your interests lay. So skill up.

…Or do I have this wrong? If so, where?

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.