Execs play down fears of digital era staff apocalypse - Mobile World Live

Execs play down fears of digital era staff apocalypse

27 SEP 2018

LIVE FROM AT&T BUSINESS SUMMIT – DALLAS, TEXAS: Chief executives from AT&T and Deloitte highlighted how rapid technology changes are forcing companies to rethink their approach to hiring staff, but dismissed concerns over mass layoffs.

In a keynote session, AT&T Business CEO Thaddeus Arroyo (pictured, left) and Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert (pictured, centre), explained the digital age is pushing companies to adopt more flexible working conditions and choose candidates based on their potential to adapt to future requirements.

Arroyo explained that as 5G drives companies into the fourth industrial revolution, there is an increasing demand for workers capable of taking on “jobs we haven’t yet defined today”.

“How do you figure out what the future need is going to be? Well, to a certain degree you have to hire people at the outset you know are adaptable and create a set of skills that will leap into that future,” he said.

Engelbert noted retraining existing employees is also an important tool for companies looking to future-proof their workforce: “Everybody’s worried about the robot apocalypse…[but] this is about mass redeployment rather than mass unemployment.”

Within the workplace, she added “the who, where and how work gets done has totally shifted”.

Evolution
Arroyo said the work environment needs to adapt accordingly, or else companies risk losing out on key talent.

“Not only does it change the level of talent and bringing in people who can work in that dynamic environment, but it also speaks to what are you doing to evolve your systems in terms of your processes” to enable businesses to “tap into that talent wherever that talent is”.

A key question is whether companies “can extend these collaborative capabilities in a way that you can multiply the best talent”, he noted.

Arroyo added the environment is now changing so rapidly “that I think an important skill is how we create an ability that we don’t become self-limiting…how are we challenging our organisations, how are we challenging ourselves to at least not get in the way?”

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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