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The Polish Economic Institute warns - the evolution of the labor market is progressing, and new job candidates do not meet many of the employees' requirements. As many as 35% of companies indicate that it is the lack of appropriate competences that blocks their development and competition on global markets. PIE suggests - train your employees. In 2022, only one in three companies followed this voice.

The recent media hype caused by showing new possibilities of artificial intelligence has caused a flood of materials about who will lose their job first. Other portals outdo each other in creating lists of endangered professions, but it is not entirely clear whether a specific text has not already been written by artificial intelligence. After all, journalists themselves put their profession at the top of the list. Right next to graphic designers, all kinds of analysts, and even lawyers or programmers.

In the pursuit of sensation, one thing is forgotten. As employment experts point out, the times when one set of skills was enough for an employee for life are long gone, and artificial intelligence has not been working since yesterday and is already used in professions for years considered "the most future-oriented". Examples? In China, AI has been used in trials since 2019. The new technology is used to record testimonies, takes over repetitive tasks, such as announcing court procedures, and even verifies information in real time on the basis of databases made available to it. It also combines similar cases and, for example, instead of ten hearings for an unpaid loan installment, the court may conduct one. In Canada, on the other hand, a negotiation application is used, which often simplifies procedures and allows you to end a dispute in less than an hour, which would take months in court.

“Today's job market is moving towards high-value, high-impact jobs across the organization. A programmer at risk of losing his job? It's possible, even if there's little to fault with his technological prowess. Companies are looking for employees who can listen to the voice of the client, often overlooked at the stage of project implementation. Even basic competencies in the field of understanding business are also important, i.e. a broad spectrum of soft skills, says Wojciech Chojnacki, Strategy Director at Symetria, a company dealing with customer behavior in the digital world.

And he adds: - The atmosphere on the labor market is nervous. Whether it's the development of artificial intelligence or simply the natural evolution of the workforce, employees have faced a new standard in their career development. It is the responsibility of the employers to ensure that this does not affect the productivity, motivation and satisfaction of the team, which is easy to do in a rapidly changing environment.

Companies want to develop, they need competences that are scarce on the market

Why should employers have a problem? Shouldn't it be the employees or candidates themselves who should be responsible for creating the right skills portfolio?

Data published in February by the Polish Economic Institute indicate that the problem is much broader. As many as 35% of the 48 companies surveyed emphasize that their further development is hindered by the fact that they cannot find employees with appropriate competences, and in large companies this percentage is still growing. Significant problems with finding the right employees are reported primarily by companies dealing with transport and storage, as well as activities related to culture, entertainment and recreation (46% of responses each) and companies from the IT sector (43%), as well as industrial processing (XNUMX% .).

– You can spread your arms and complain about the quality of education in vocational schools or universities, but in this way you also have to accept the fact that the company we run will not break the glass ceiling. Industry, logistics, IT sector - here the use of artificial intelligence can replace a human in many repetitive activities. So why not teach those who no longer have to work, e.g. sorting packages manually, something else? It happens that employers themselves complain that their teams are not fully effective. But what did they do to spur this team to action? – asks Wojciech Chojnacki from Symetria.

The analysis of PIE data shows that not much. In times of dynamic development of modern information and communication technologies, changes in management styles and cooperation models, the participation of companies investing in employee competencies should be not only greater, but also more comprehensive.

- The point is that a larger group of employees participate in the training, so that after completing the course they can conduct a substantive discussion or jointly try to implement new solutions in everyday projects. By engaging one person in the training, we run the risk that it will be more difficult for them to bring the acquired knowledge into the environment accustomed to old patterns - emphasizes Wojciech Chojnacki from Symetria.

In 2022, only every third Polish company trained employees, improving their competences. Few more enterprises (38 percent) plan to invest in human capital in 2023. In a similar study conducted a year earlier, only 20 percent companies sent employees for training in 2021. Therefore, we see a growing interest of entrepreneurs in improving the skills of their teams, although the percentage of companies that do not implement and do not plan such activities is still high.

Who wants to change this trend first? The number of companies investing in the development of employees' competencies depends on the scale of enterprises' difficulties in acquiring employees with appropriate competencies. Nearly half of such enterprises have implemented training plans or plan to do so in the near future.

Training yes, but not only on using apps

– Training in the use of new technology? This seems obvious, but many employers forget about it. This is a mistake, because although many applications are very intuitive and, as a rule, easy to use, very often certain functions - which in the basic version you can do without - require a more extensive discussion. New technological skills are not everything. The employer should also focus more on soft skills training. After all, he himself would like his team to be more flexible and adapt to changes faster. Each subsequent evolution will be more effective when the employee already has soft skills - emphasizes Chojnacki from Symetria.

Why are soft skills as important as technical ones? Artificial intelligence and automation make employees more efficient, work faster and help companies save money. However, the proper use of these tools is possible only when the work is properly synchronized. Since the pandemic, employees need to find new ways to collaborate, communicate clearly with each other, and solve problems creatively using the latest tools, but the lack of personal contact hinders many relationships. Co-workers often do not see each other's gestures or facial expressions, and this can significantly distort the message, especially to those individuals who have deficiencies in soft skills.

There is also a warning for companies. According to research conducted by GoodHabitz analysts, every second employee believes that the employer should provide them with access to training, and more than 65% of them want to attend additional courses.

– The best way to keep employees engaged, motivated and productive is to constantly improve their qualifications. In other words, companies and managers must promote a culture of continuous learning. Moreover, it must extend beyond the office. How? Leaders simply need to model environments in which learning is encouraged as a lifelong endeavor, not just a one-off event, notes Wojciech Chojnacki from Symetria.

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