Losing Talent in the Age of AI: Global Survey Finds Singapore Businesses Fail to Unlock the Full Potential of their Employees

Kelly report discovers most talent strategies are ineffective, identifies workforce leaders defying trends

SINGAPORE, June 12, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Businesses are failing to unlock the full potential of their employees and poor workforce planning is holding back growth for most organisations, a global survey by specialty talent solutions provider Kelly has found. The 2024 Kelly Global Re:work Report reveals executives are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to solve these challenges but struggle to implement digital strategies effectively and neglect to offer adequate training to employees.

The fourth annual global workforce report from Kelly, titled Building a Resilient Workforce in the Age of AI, shows 54% of senior executives say poor workforce planning is impeding business growth and 47% say they are missing business opportunities due to a lack of talent. Four in 10 executives (42%) say they are not unlocking the full potential of their workforce.

Many organisations around the globe are using technology to solve these challenges. Most (64%) invest or plan to invest in AI or automation to improve employee productivity, efficiency, and engagement, but one in five executives admit their digital strategies to strengthen the workforce are ineffective. Employees are frustrated with these changes and wary of AI’s implications for their jobs and careers. While 73% of workers expect AI to impact their roles, only 36% feel positive about the technology, and only 39% say they have received AI-related training.

Kelly surveyed senior executives and talent across 13 countries. Key findings in Singapore include:

  • Executives are least confident in improving productivity. Only 38% of executives in Singapore expressed confidence in their organisations’ ability to become more productive, compared to 54% of executives globally.
  • Creativity and innovation are two critical skills missing in the workforce. More than one third (36%) of executives rate their teams’ creativity and innovation skills as poor, while more than 57% agree that addressing skills gaps is high priority.
  • More could be done to improve organisations’ cultures. A mere 23% of executives rate their organisations positively for supporting mental health initiatives. The good news: 68% say are already taking steps or planning to address negative aspects of their organisation’s culture.
  • Career development is employees’ top concern. Workers say their top three frustrations are a lack of career progression (33%), a lack of skills development opportunities (31%), and a lack of autonomy over how they work (30%). More than a third (36%) disagree they have satisfactory work-life balance.
  • Businesses struggle to adopt AI. More than half (51%) view improved decision-making as the biggest benefit of AI. However, only 43% of the executives surveyed say they have adopted technologies required for employees to perform effectively.

“Today’s leaders must grapple with big expectations from the impact of AI on the workforce — from the way work gets done, to the skills employers need, to the ways workforces are built and managed,” Pete Hamilton, vice president and managing director, APAC, at KellyOCG, said. “Let’s be clear, though — AI is not the endgame. It is a tool that can significantly accelerate business growth. It has the potential to increase our power to build exceptional workforces and understand what it takes to enable them to thrive.”

The Re:work Report offers insights into how the world’s leading organisations achieve this. For the first time, the report features a Workforce Resilience Index, which reveals how best-in-class businesses are building agile, capable, and inclusive teams that thrive in the age of AI. The Index identifies a group of Resilience Leaders (7% of companies surveyed) who report better results across both core business metrics and key people indicators compared to Mid-Market Performers (85%) and Laggards (8%).

  • 70% of Resilience Leaders report increased revenue over the past year vs. 35% of Laggards.
  • 61% of Resilience Leaders report improved profitability vs. 35% of Laggards.
  • 74% of Resilience Leaders report improved customer satisfaction vs. 37% of Laggards.
  • 79% of Resilience Leaders report improved ability to recruit talent vs. 27% of Laggards.
  • 72% of Resilience Leaders report improved retention vs. 34% of Laggards.

Workforce Resilience Leaders are most commonly based in Norway, Sweden, and Germany, the report found. Singapore ranks 11th out of 13 countries surveyed. Australia ranks last. The survey identifies four best practices for building workforce resilience:

  1. Partnering with workforce solutions providers builds more agile and capable teams. 71% of Resilience Leaders work with third parties to develop their talent strategies vs. 35% of Laggards.
  2. Leveraging new technologies offers better visibility into talent demands. 64% of Resilience Leaders have a clear strategy for how they deploy AI to support human work vs. 22% of Laggards. 69% use technology to improve workforce analytics, monitor productivity, and support hybrid work.
  3. Tapping into diverse perspectives and providing flexible work arrangements empowers employees to contribute. 77% of Resilience Leaders say a C-suite leader has DEI responsibilities compared to only 5% of Laggards. 53% of Resilience Leaders offer flexible and hybrid work arrangements for employees at all levels vs. only 19% of Laggards.
  4. Being proactive about wellbeing and mental health improves performance. 54% of Resilience Leaders offer mental health resources compared to 28% of Laggards.

For additional insights, read the full report here.

About the Survey
Kelly surveyed 1,500 senior executives, including C-suite leaders, board members, department heads, directors, and managers, as well as 4,000 workers at all levels across 13 countries and eight industry sectors in Q2 of 2024. The 13 countries include the United States, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Singapore. The eight industry sectors include Consumer Retail, Education, Energy, Engineering, Financial Services, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, and Technology. 35% of respondents were from organisations with 10,000+ employees; 35% were from organisations with 5,001-10,000 employees; and 30% were from organisations with 1,000-5,000 employees.

About Kelly®
Kelly (Nasdaq: KELYA, KELYB) helps companies recruit and manage skilled workers and helps job seekers find great work. Since inventing the staffing industry in 1946, we have become experts in the many industries and local and global markets we serve. With a network of suppliers and partners, we connect jobs seekers around the world with meaningful work. Our suite of outsourcing and consulting services ensures companies have the people they need, when and where they are needed most. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, we empower businesses and individuals to access limitless opportunities in industries such as science, engineering, technology, education, manufacturing, retail, finance, and energy. Visit kellyservices.com.

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