Public sector must adopt technologies to attract technical talent

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 07 February 2017
Public sector must adopt technologies to attract technical talent

Public sector agencies must adopt technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and biometrics to attract and retain technically adept employees and compete with the private sector, according to Accenture.

The Emerging Technologies in Public Service report highlighted that digitisation is making hiring and training people with the necessary skills one of the top three challenges facing industries worldwide.

“The very concept of work is being redefined as different generations enter and exit the workforce in a rapidly changing technological landscape,” said Terry Hemken, who leads Accenture’s Health and Public Service Analytics Insights for Government. “Government leaders must make every effort to reskill their people to be relevant in the future and ready to adapt to change.”

Accenture’s survey found that 80% of respondents believe implementing technologies such as AI and machine learning will help to improve job satisfaction and drive employee retention by automating repetitive tasks and giving staff more time to focus on critical activities.

In addition, nearly 60% of respondents said they expect emerging technologies will enable them to increase the skill range of their employees and help them to provide more career opportunities.

However, almost 60% of respondents also said that being able to implement projects using emerging technologies would require significant investment in reskilling existing staff. Currently, research and development staff are most likely to deliver value from these projects, but public service agencies need to hire data scientists, software engineers and digital developers and designers from one of the most competitive job pools. Half of all respondents said they look predominantly to the private sector to hire talent when developing projects using emerging technologies.

Intelligent process automation was cited by 60% of respondents as the skill most likely to address technological and data skills shortages. When it comes to addressing hiring and people-development challenges, companies from Finland and Australia identified biometrics/ identity analytics professionals as their greatest need. Meanwhile, 40% of those from Norway said finding natural language processing and generation specialists was the highest priority. Respondents in Singapore identified hiring needs almost equally among internet of things (21%), video analytics (29%) and biometrics/ identity analytics (21%). “Responsive and responsible leaders must ensure that their people are relevant and adaptable to keep pace with technology,” Hemken said. “Creating the future workforce now is the responsibility of the very highest levels of an organisation. Providing opportunities to learn new technologies has the dual benefit of attracting a more digitally fluent staff while creating opportunities to retain existing workforce talent.”

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