Technology has leapt to the number one driver of disruption for business leaders globally, driven by dramatic advances in generative AI (Gen AI).
Accenture’s Pulse of Change: 2024 Index found that C-suite executives today rank technology as the main cause of change, ahead of other hot topics such as talent shortages and economic, geopolitical and climate issues.
The World Economic Forum has estimated that 150 million new technology jobs will be created globally over the next five years, and 77% of all jobs will require digital skills from workers by 2030. However, businesses currently face a global shortage of digital skills already, with only 33% of technology jobs worldwide filled by the necessary skilled labour.
According to Accenture’s report, 42% of C-suite leaders say the skills shortage is one of the top three challenges that would hold back their organisations’ ability to respond to change, underscoring the importance for businesses of making their talent strategy a priority – especially as they work to tap the potential of new technologies.
Accenture report highlights six factor of change affecting businesses, with Technology number one
Accenture’s annual Index ranks six factors of change affecting businesses – Technology, Talent, Economic, Geopolitical, Climate and Consumer & Social – before comparing this data to a survey of 3,400 C-suite leaders on how they view the impact of each factor on their organisations.
Its analysis reveals that technology disruption increased the most in 2023, rising to No. 1 from No. 6 in 2022.
Talent – including issues such as skills shortages and lack of employee engagement – was the No. 2 cause of business change; yet in the survey, C-suite leaders ranked Talent at No. 4. However, 42% of C-suite leaders say skills shortage is one of the top three challenges that would hold back their organisations’ ability to respond to change, underscoring the importance for businesses of making their talent strategy a priority.
“The level of change has dramatically increased over the last few years, and it requires a structural change in how businesses operate — incremental changes in ways of working and performance are no longer sufficient to compete,” said Jack Azagury, Group Chief Executive – Strategy & Consulting, Accenture. “The most significant source of change and disruption – technology – is also the key to this structural change.
“We believe that the companies that will succeed in the next decade are those that embrace a strategy of continuously reinventing every part of their business using technology, data and AI, including harnessing the power of generative AI, and ensuring their people are at the centre of their transformations.”
Technology disruption seen as an opportunity, with caution about responsible use
According to Accenture, a majority of C-suite leaders (61%) expect the pace of technology disruption to accelerate even further, with 76% seeing generative AI as more of an opportunity than a threat and more beneficial to revenue growth than cost reduction.
However, nearly half (47%) say they are not fully prepared for the accelerating rate of technology change, and 72% are now approaching investments with more caution because of societal concerns about the responsible use of AI.
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