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20 April 2017

The Inclusiveness Imperative

At a time when technology appears to be taking over the workplace, PwC’s most recent Global CEO Survey indicates that people power is reaching new heights.

CEOs are continuing to struggle to find the talent they need, and 77% are concerned that a shortage of key skills could impair their company’s growth, up from 58% in 2013. In particular, the skills that are most important – and often the hardest to find – are uniquely human capabilities, such as adaptability, problem-solving, collaborative skills, empathy and creativity and innovation.

CEOsurvey

It seems that we’re witnessing a move away from high demand for what were traditionally masculine traits, and a shift towards leadership skills that are more intuitively female, such as collaboration. Interestingly, research shows that female leaders throughout organisations tend to be more effective than their male counterparts in demonstrating collaboration and problem solving, and in fostering innovation – all of which are among the key skills that CEOs are struggling to find.

I was also intrigued by recent research which highlights that women are better leaders than men; and with this in mind I think it’s critical I highlight that talent and diversity discussions cannot be about which gender makes the better leader. The discussion instead needs to be one that recognises the best business results will come through the ability to identify, harness and blend the different capabilities and strengths that diverse leadership teams offer.

Personally, what speaks to me most about adaptability, collaboration, creativity, empathy and leadership – these uniquely human and high-in-demand capabilities – is that they are all skills at the centre of being an inclusive professional. And if you haven’t realised it already, it’s time to get to grips with the fact that the ability to foster inclusiveness and manage across difference are only set to become more important capabilities for both businesses and talent.

The modern employer and employee will need to be able to manage a myriad of differences. Differences such as: gender, age and cultural diversity. Distinct personality types and an assortment of many different working patterns as flexibility demands accelerate from both men and women across the globe. All combined with a focus on working with talent with many different skills and experiences as businesses seek to innovate and capitalise on the technology opportunity.  And this management of a myriad of talent differences of course all takes place against the backdrop of businesses trying to serve and attract new and different customer segments, enter and compete in new and different geographies and adapt to new business areas.

The common theme across all facets of business is a move towards responding to, engaging with and managing greater levels of difference and diversity. It is no wonder that CEOs cite skills that place inclusion at their core as those most in-demand. There is no doubt about it, the inclusion imperative is ramping up and inclusiveness skills will continue to become increasingly important for talent to develop and for businesses to foster.

In a nutshell attracting difference and fostering a culture with the capability to embrace and maximise this talent diversity is critical for organisations looking to gain competitive advantage, foster innovation and be a talent magnet to the modern workforce.

Aoife

Aoife Flood, PwC Based in Dublin, Ireland, Aoife Flood is Senior Manager of the Global Diversity & Inclusion Programme Office for PwC with responsibility for the development and implementation of our network-wide global Diversity & Inclusion strategy.

She is a proud PwC female millennial and lead researcher and author of our ‘Winning the fight for female talent’, ‘Moving women with purpose: Creating gender inclusive global mobility’, ‘The female millennial: A new era of talent’, and 'The PwC diversity journey: Creating impact, achieving results’ thought leadership publications.

Aoife is also co-author of our Global Gender Agenda blog. You can learn more about Aoife here or find her on twitter: @AoifeRFlood.

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