KPMG in India’s Arun Sharma on Future of Work in 2024

KPMG in India's Arun Sharma on Future of Work in 2024
As per the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that the overall 150 million new technology jobs will be created over the next 5 years and by 2030, 77% of jobs will require digital skills. Only 33% of technology jobs are filled by the required skillset.

Arun Sharma serves as Associate Partner, Managed Services at KPMG in India. He has over two decades of experience across leading professional services firms, with a career progression transcending from techno-functional responsibilities to leadership roles in management consulting.

In his current role, he leads the ‘HR & Talent’ services in KPMG in India’s Advisory function which is a 120-member team strong team, built up from ground zero.

He has also received multiple leadership awards for driving teams to accomplish greater heights across business, academia, and sports.

He holds a Bachelor of Technology (Honors) from REC Kurukshetra, and earned an MBA from Cranfield School of Management; he was awarded the Leadership Prize among 150+ students from 35 countries.

Q- What is the Future of Work in 2024?

The future of work in 2024 will be shaped by a dynamic interplay of technological advancements and global changes (political, societal, environmental) while focusing on the basics of profitable business.

The pace of change will be much more accelerated than ever and business leaders have both the responsibility and potential (equipped with the power of AI, Automation, Digital) to navigate and shape their organizations in these evolving times.

As per the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that the overall 150 million new technology jobs will be created over the next 5 years, and by 2030, 77% of jobs will require digital skills. Only 33% of technology jobs are filled by the required skillset.

The leaders need to address the talent gaps and opportunities provided by AI and shifting demographics. The developed economies are facing talent shortages while the developing & emerging economies need jobs for young talent.

Increased adoption of technological advancement and digital access is expected to offset the effect of job displacement.

One of the interesting developments would be who owns continuous learning in this evolving business landscape – employer or employee? With multiple learning platforms available, employers need to ensure secure learning avenues for employees to benefit from.

Here, the middle managers will play a pivotal role in bridging the skill & productivity gaps by delivering learning in ‘the flow of work’ and operating as coaches.

Q- How do you Workforce Trends in 2024?

The KPMG Future of Work charter, December 23 states that the traditional Build-Buy-Borrow model is paving the way to a more holistic approach while integrating additional 2 B’s – the BOT and the ‘Base’ i.e., location of the talent, resulting in a unified talent lifecycle focusing on the right skills, DEI, and AI.

In 2024, the workforce reflects a paradigm shift towards flexibility, collaboration, and technological adeptness. It will be characterized by diversity, adaptability, and a heightened emphasis on well-being. Remote and hybrid work arrangements are here to stay, with organizations investing in technology to facilitate seamless collaboration. Employee well-being initiatives, including mental health support, are integral to nurturing a healthy workforce.

The KPMG Future of Work charter says the global talent pool is more accessible than ever. Companies are tapping into a diverse range of skills and perspectives from around the world. Cross-cultural communication skills will become increasingly valuable as teams collaborate across borders and time zones.

The workforce of 2024 places a premium on purpose-driven work. Employees will look to seek organizations with strong values, contributing to positive social and environmental impacts. Companies that prioritize sustainability and corporate social responsibility will attract top talent.

Q- How is Generative AI changing the landscape of work and jobs?

Generative AI is revolutionizing the landscape of work and jobs at a breakneck speed. Through its ability to analyze vast datasets and create human-like outputs, there is a huge opportunity across each industry to tap into its benefits.

Most of our conversations with business leaders in KPMG and outside are centered on GenAI use cases. The important paradigm shift has been the ‘early adaptation to harness GenAI potential’ vs. ‘sitting on the fence’ approach.

Automation of routine tasks has massive potential to free up human workers to focus on more complex, creative, and strategic aspects of their roles. In content creation, AI algorithms are generating articles, reports, and even creative pieces.

Designers collaborate with AI tools to enhance creativity and speed up the design process. However, concerns about job displacement persist, necessitating a shift towards rapid skilling that complements AI capabilities.

The role of human-machine collaboration becomes complementary. Employees need to adapt to working alongside AI systems, understanding their strengths and limitations. Developing a keen understanding of the ethical considerations surrounding AI is vital for responsible integration into the workplace.

Models like ChatGPT can enhance productivity and bring more meaning to work, focusing on high-value, high-yield activities, while also providing additional benefits:

  • Greater productivity
  • Increased efficiency
  • More flexibility for employees and employers
  • More meaningful and fulfilling work

Generative AI operates on the principle of posing questions in the ongoing workflow, facilitating quick access to the needed answers. It aids in discovering career paths, enabling companies to hire based on ‘potential.’ This proves invaluable for recruiters, hiring managers, and other talent professionals, helping them make better and quicker decisions.

The integration of AI in talent management contributes to creating more connected experiences for both talent teams and employees. This is achieved by bringing insights into the flow of work within existing tools like Teams, Slack, HCM, browsers, etc.

Yet, in this early stage, acknowledging the skepticism around AI is crucial. Questions do arise: ‘Will AI introduce bias? Are there compliance risks such as GDPR across different geographical locations? What impact will it have on employee and customer data privacy? Could AI significantly alter the nature of the workforce?’

Historically, new technology has often faced suspicion before becoming an integral part of our lives. To address potential risks associated with AI, it is essential to ensure ‘human-centric approach’ to make informed decisions.

Q- What are the top power skills one should master in 2024 to succeed in a career?

Navigating the future job market requires a set of power skills that go beyond technical expertise. In 2024, Learnability is key as industries rapidly evolve and ownership of learning is even more on individuals to stay relevant and competent.

Given the pace of technological change, individuals must pivot quickly and embrace new tools and methodologies. Emotional intelligence remains crucial, especially in virtual and diverse workplaces. The ability to understand and navigate emotions, both one’s own and others’, fosters effective collaboration and leadership.

Digital literacy extends beyond basic technical skills. Individuals need to master advanced digital tools, understand data analytics, and leverage technology for innovation. New Job opportunities such as Prompt Engineers/ AI Whisperers will be one of the hottest tech career prospects.

72% of participants of a KPMG survey agree that continuous learning is fundamental, with professionals adopting a growth mindset to stay ahead.

Collaboration and communication skills are heightened in remote and hybrid work settings. Virtual teamwork, effective communication through various channels, and the ability to build relationships across distances are essential for success.

In conclusion, the future of work holds huge promise for better productivity and profitability for business leaders. It is heartening to observe the right level of curiosity and willpower to invest in tech advancements by industry leaders. For individuals, it is imperative to take control of their learning.

Embracing change, leveraging generative AI responsibly, adapting to workforce trends, and mastering power skills will position individuals for success in their careers.

Thank you, Arun!


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