Today, PwC released the 2023 Hopes and Fears Global Workforce Survey. 19,500 Asia Pacific employees participated and they have revealed a striking data point that highlights the challenge our region is facing today. 39% believe their organisation will not survive more than 10 years if it continues on its current course – comparable to the 53% of Asia Pacific CEOs who shared this sentiment in our 2023 CEO survey. This has reaffirmed the urgency for business leaders to act now on long-term transformation.
Raymund Chao, PwC Asia Pacific and China Chairman, commented, “The new reality has taught us that change is constant. Competition continues to intensify, risks of disruption remain and societal expectations are rising, which collectively, challenges the viability of every business. To truly flourish in an environment that is continuously evolving, organisations must transform and adapt at speed. It’s encouraging to see that business leaders and employees in the region share this vision. No transformation is alike but at the core, people always matter. We need to come together in new, interconnected ways, to build trust and deliver sustained outcomes.”
Organisations can only successfully reinvent themselves if their people are fully engaged, motivated and eager to contribute. Are workers in Asia Pacific ready for this journey? Our survey identifies six factors underpinning their reinvention readiness: business viability, employee sentiment, workforce skills, emerging technology, work environment and climate action. These results should be a wake up call for companies across the region, many of whom have already been grappling with a skill and talent shortage for years.
‘The Great Resignation’ is far from over in Asia Pacific
Employees in the region are even more likely to quit now than they were last year back when everyone thought ‘The Great Resignation’ was at its peak. About 30% say they are likely to change jobs in the next 12 months (up 10% from 2022). The number is higher for the younger generation (Gen Z and Millennials), employees at senior levels and those working in larger organisations. In addition, roughly 40% express their likelihood of asking for a pay raise or promotion within the same timeframe.
Skills in the workplace are evolving, but human skills matter most
The ever-changing landscape has proved that workers’ skills will be disrupted significantly in the future, yet our surveyed employees may see things differently. Just 44% of respondents believe that the skills required for their jobs will undergo significant changes within the next five years and only 48% have a clear sense of how. If employees don’t anticipate or understand how their job requirements might change, they may not be adequately prepared for the future.
Employees in the region rank people skills such as adaptability/flexibility (69%), collaborative skills (67%) and critical thinking (66%) above technical or core business skills. However, skills are hiding in plain sight. Less than half (48%) feel that their employers provide them with opportunities where they can apply their skills effectively in the next five years. It suggests there may be untapped capacity within the existing workforce.
Norah Seddon, PwC Asia Pacific Workforce Leader, commented: “The persistent and widening skill gap in the region demands urgent action. Forward-thinking companies must make skills the focal point of their talent strategies, from recruitment, training, development to benefits and compensation. This strategic shift not only addresses the burning issue of talent attraction and retention but also prepares organisations for the demands of tomorrow’s jobs.”
Asia Pacific workers are largely bullish on artificial intelligence (AI)
The benefits of AI are becoming understood across the region with 41% saying it will increase productivity and efficiency at work, and 34% viewing it as an opportunity to learn new skills. However, 22% lack confidence in their ability to acquire new AI-related skills. 16% of respondents believe that AI will replace their roles and an equal percentage feel that AI will have no impact.
Industries such as Technology, Media and Telecommunications, as well as Financial Services, see the greatest potential for improved productivity through AI. In contrast, employees in Health and Government and the Public Sector express the most confidence that AI will not replace their roles.
As the workforce continues to evolve and employee attitudes shift, a new style of leadership is needed to steer the organisation on a path of reinvention. Our report includes several considerations for employers and leaders to better understand their people, unlock greater capability and accomplish bolder goals.