Leadership Priorities and the Industrial Skills Gap

By Hector McKirdy, Principal 

The industrial sector faces the same challenges as other sectors, in that technology is being rapidly adopted and scaled across organisations and those organisations are struggling to engage workers with the skills needed to keep pace with change. This applies on all levels, including leadership, operations, and IT. During this period of technological growth, where we see Industry 4.0 shifting the focus directly to automation, digitisation, AI and interconnectivity across the industrial sector, finding the balance between technology and human capability is challenging.

Industrial leaders with experience of successfully overseeing the multi-site adoption and rollout of production and supply chain technology are in high demand. These leaders need to understand all aspects of how their business operates, from the production floor to the supply chain. As technologies transform the way business gets done, leadership must learn and grow to keep pace. Production automation and AI can produce a huge amount of business intelligence for leadership to ingest allowing for better informed decision-making. The challenge is securing a leadership team who are capable of making use of the analytics their digitised workflows are providing them with.

The rate of change has created several challenges, not just at leadership level. Understanding how to manage the current workforce, reskill and upskill and still allow the workforce to maintain its identity in a rapidly changing environment is key. How a business approaches its technological change culturally is bound to have an impact on success. Maintaining stability while creating a workforce with the required skills is a delicate balance.

One strategy is to recruit outside of the industrial industry vertical to satisfy the skills gap. Digital skills required for Industry 4.0 include data and design architects who can deliver on transformative solutions while still understanding the core needs of the business from a product design, manufacturing and supply chain perspective. The problem is nearly every industry is also looking outside their traditional talent pool as optimising the balance of technology and people is a global business problem that requires a global solution.

Talent acquisition creates a great opportunity to upskill a current workforce, creating a more sustainable solution. Fractured working has impacted learning speed and capabilities of less experienced people in teams and building a strong culture of continuous learning once the investment in new skills is made will help the workforce embrace the innovation and learning available and start to explore the possibilities within their own workplace.

Miramar has been supporting automotive and industrial firms to hire smart manufacturing leaders globally and our market intelligence tells us that there is no suggestion that innovation in the industrial sector will slow. Recently enabling hires of Industry 4.0 leaders overseeing technology adoption at manufacturing sites across EMEA, leaders who lead technology adoption for food preservation in the US and individual country heads for connected machines, we are at the forefront of talent acquisition in the industrial digital transformation sector.


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