Four ways to thrive in the society of the future

1. Target versatile talent

Our research reveals that senior executives expect 15% of jobs to be fully automated and 29% to be AI-augmented, on average, in the next five years.

Companies must strengthen their workforce readiness for the jobs of tomorrow. Imagine being an "augmented reality life designer," helping customers discover unique experiences to match their desired lifestyles. Or, working as a "Robot Whisperer" in a restaurant, keeping an eye on robotic chefs and monitoring interactions with customers. The role of “digital anthropologist” has emerged to study patterns of behavior in an increasingly data-centric world.

Companies also play a critical role in finding and attracting leaders capable of charting a new course. When Naver—the South Korean technology giant—appointed its first non-engineer CEO, Han Seong-Sook, in 2017, her success challenged long-held assumptions about what skills are needed to lead a tech company. After graduating with a degree in English literature, Han started her career in tech journalism before co-founding Empas (now Nate), a database search company that became one of the most popular Web portals in South Korea. Naver has committed ₩180 billion (US$161 million) to developing AI, automated driving and other advanced technologies while stepping up efforts to better connect creators and small business owners through its new platform, Brand Connect. Han’s efforts have been rewarded by the market: Naver’s stock price doubled between 2018 and 2020.

New technologies also present new challenges: businesses are adding C-level roles such as Chief AI Ethics Officer, Chief Trust Officer and Chief Empathy Officer to address rising concerns over the inappropriate use of AI.

Forerunners are leading the way by hiring new leaders for instrumental positions and using talent partners to tap into niche skills. They are also investing in both STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and HESS (humanities, education, social sciences) skills.

Forerunners are more proactive in hiring new leaders, partnering to tap into niche skills and investing early in new talent, especially with HESS skills.

Talent strategies to adopt in the next five years

Percentage of respondents who selected "to a very large extent" or "to a large extent" on a five-point scale.

Companies that prioritize preparing future workforce in the next five years (Forerunners, n=143; Other companies, n=907)

Companies that prioritize preparing future workforce in the next five years (Forerunners, n=143; Other companies, n=907) Source: Accenture Growth Markets C-level Survey, September – October 2020

About the Authors

Gianfranco Casati

CEO – Growth Markets


Dr. Vedrana Savic

Managing Director – Thought leadership


Valentin de Miguel

Senior Managing Director and Strategy & Consulting Lead, Growth Markets


Trevor Gruzin

Senior Managing Director – Growth & Strategy, Growth Markets

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