Talent is what’s keeping Australian business owners up at night, according to KPMG
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Talent is what’s keeping Australian business owners up at night, according to KPMG

by Freya Lucas

January 07, 2022

Across all sectors and industries, there’s one common challenge facing Australia’s business owners – we are in an era of talent, and talent is becoming harder to find, recruit and retain, according to KPMG. 

 

In early childhood education and care (ECEC) a number of sector advocates, leaders and approved providers have candidly shared the challenges they are facing in meeting ratio and providing quality care, something which has been further exacerbated by the difficult conditions brought to bear by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

In a recent annual survey of over 400 Australian CEOs, emerging business leaders, and Non-Executive Directors conducted by KPMG, respondents spoke about the key challenges facing organisations, and Australia more broadly, in 2022, and through to the next three to five years. 

 

Top Three Concerns for 2022

 

Talent acquisition, retention, and reskilling/upskilling to meet a more digitized future was top of mind for 69 per cent of respondents, who named this as the biggest challenge for the year ahead.

 

Dealing with cyber vulnerabilities as digital workplaces and remote working become commonplace was a concern for half of those who responded. 

 

The challenges and benefits of having employees working remotely were the third most pressing concern, while digital transformation – optimisation and extracting organisational value from it – came in fourth at 44 percent. 

“Overwhelmingly, the top three concerns for Australian leaders next year are about responses to a post COVID world,” Alison Kitchen, Chairperson of KPMG Australia explained. “We see this reflecting what can be characterised as ‘the Great Renewal’ – a time when businesses will be focused on people and the environments in which they operate.” 

Survey respondents strongly indicated that the coming year will require leaders to have a focus on both seeking and developing talent as well as staying abreast of the risks and opportunities in a rapidly digitizing workplace.

 

Top issues for next three to five years

 

“It is clear that as Australia starts to emerge fully from the lockdowns of the last two years, having enough skilled talent to meet customer needs is the key challenge concerning all businesses – and they don’t see this changing in the next few years. The challenge of digital transformation, which was top in our previous survey two years ago, is still a key issue and will remain so in the next three to five years.” 

 

Importantly for those in the ECEC sector, respondents identified that dealing with evolving regulatory processes, reporting changes & impacts was an issue on their radars, along with the need for businesses to be more agile and flexible in their organisational processes to meet opportunities and address challenges. 

 

Balancing short term versus long term value creation was also nominated as a focus for a quarter of respondents in the next three to five years. 

 

29 per cent of respondents will spend the next three to five years focusing on building diversity into their leadership and talent mapping, while 24 per cent will have a focus on building greater purpose into organisational culture. 

 

To access the survey findings in full please see here

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