NEWS: Global Future of Work Survey Reveals Skills Most in Demand

Executives from Ireland, Europe, North America and Australia Identify Most Significant People Challenges Facing Organisations in Changing Work Landscape



17 July 2017: Harmonics, the Irish partner of OI Global Partners (the world’s largest career consulting partnership), has released the results of a proprietary survey of HR professionals representing over 500 organisations from Europe, North America and Australia. The goals of the survey were to understand the following:

  1. the skills employees must have to be competitive today;
  2. the most significant people challenges currently facing organisations;
  3. the most effective ways to develop talent; and
  4. the roles most at risk.

Clients of Harmonics and their counterparts with OI Global Partners across the globe shared their first-hand knowledge and insights in the Future of Work Survey.

John Fitzgerald, Managing Director of Harmonics, said, “The results are really interesting. Despite the differences in location and industry, there are common challenges and risks which our clients are facing and they are implementing solutions that are effective in managing a changing work landscape.”

Among the key findings of the survey, respondents indicated that the skills employees must have to be competitive are:

  1. strong communication ability;
  2. leadership agility;
  3. eagerness to learn;
  4. emotional intelligence; and
  5. understanding analytics.

John Fitzgerald noted, “Being open to learn, with strong leadership skills and possessing solid reading, listening and thinking ability are seen as valued skills. This can be seen as a reflection of how organizations are going through such rapid change and are looking for employees to adapt to change and take more ownership of their career paths and learning so that they can bridge the growing skills gap.”

The most significant people challenges currently facing organisations are:

  1. adapting to change;
  2. employee engagement;
  3. attracting and hiring new talent;
  4. the lack of coaching skills by managers; and
  5. retaining key talent.


“Inevitably, adapting to change is the key people challenge being faced by organizations worldwide.  Disruptive technologies and organisational change are having a significant impact on the workplace.  Organisations and their employees are struggling to address or keep up with the pace of change,” said Mr Fitzgerald.

The most effective ways to develop talent are:

  1. career conversations;
  2. internal leadership development programs;
  3. assessments;
  4. mentoring programs; and
  5. one-to-one coaching, with external coaches.

Commenting on these talent management strategies, John Fitzgerald noted, “Professional coaches are a resource for developing an organization’s leaders to sharpen skills, engage employees and improve team performance, prioritize and address pressing organizational issues, to manage strategically and capitalize on new opportunities. When you engage a coach to train your managers to build their coaching skills, they conduct more effective career conversations leading to clarity in goal-setting, stronger employee engagement, excellence in performance, and retention of the best talent.”


The roles most at risk are:

  1. administrative roles;
  2. manufacturing & production jobs;
  3. middle management;
  4. finance & accounting; and
  5. support staff.

“This is a reflection of the automation of roles – mobile internet, cloud technology, processing power, big data and the Internet of Things are all drivers of change,” commented John Fitzgerald.

The full set of survey results can be downloaded here





About Harmonics

Founded in 2006 by John Fitzgerald, Harmonics specialises in helping organisations plan for change, manage change and support their people through change.  The company works with many of Ireland’s leading organisations across all sectors from financial services, pharmaceutical, consumer, telecommunications and software, as well as public sector clients and Universities.  Harmonics has a nationwide team of over 30 people with offices in Cork, Dublin and Limerick.


About OI Global Partners
OI Global Partners is a leading human resources consulting firm that helps organizations manage their talent and individuals manage their careers. We are local experts with global perspective. Our firm has its roots in OI Partners Inc., founded in 1987, and CareerNet International Ltd., founded in 1998. We are managed by a global board of directors with administrative operations in Nashville and Amsterdam. For more information, please visit or contact S. Thomas Wharton at or 401.884.7959.

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