'Skills-First Transformation' growing more popular for firms globally: report

The approach makes a 'high positive impact' on retention, performance

'Skills-First Transformation' growing more popular for firms globally: report

More than half of organisations across the world have started a "Skills-First Transformation" (SFT), according to a new report, and are beginning to reap its benefits as SFT becomes an "imperative" amid an evolving world of work.

A report from iMocha, in collaboration with EY, revealed that 56% of 169 organisations across the world have begun their SFT journey, including 33% who are early adopters and 23% who are just starting out.

The Skills-First Transformation has been dubbed as a "new approach to unlocking talent potential," with the report underscoring how it has become an "organisational imperative" amid rising demand for tech and AI skills across job roles.

"The operational landscape, especially in tech-driven sectors, has become extremely dynamic, and only a Skills-First Transformation is expected to keep enterprises steadily moving on the path to sustainable growth," said Amit Mishra, CEO and founder of iMocha, in a statement.

"Employees want to upskill and reskill to stay relevant; they are eager to showcase their skills and be recognised for them."

The United States is leading rest of the world when it comes to the number of businesses starting their SFT journey with 74%. The Asia-Pacific region comes close with 73%, followed by the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region with 58%.

Impact on retention, performance

Early adopters of SFT have reported that the approach has positively affected on their organisation.

According to the report, 63% of early adopters said SFT had a "high positive impact" on talent retention and development.

This comes as 83% of the employees surveyed said they will likely stay longer with firms that have a skills-first approach.

"Looking ahead, early adopters of SFT should focus on the 'skills-intelligence first' approach to better integrate skills data across operational processes, thereby realising higher retention and employee performance," said Preeti Anand, Partner, Business Consulting at EY India, in a statement.

Other benefits reported by early adopters of SFT include:

  • Improving employee performance (58%)
  • Staying competitive in the industry (38%)
  • Reducing skills gap/building skills for future (29%)
  • Improving recruitment pipeline (29%)
  • Improving in talent mobility (21%)

According to the report, public companies that were SFT-focused also had higher revenue growth than those who have yet to implement the scheme.

"SFT-focused companies had ~2x higher revenue growth rates compared to non-SFT-focused companies over the past three years," the report said.

The report was based on in-depth interviews and surveys among 560 senior HR leaders and employees across the world between June and October 2023.

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