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Collaboration: supplying NFP employers with the skills they need

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It’s important that organisations identify and understand their skills needed. Most NFPs are starting to make, or are making, moderate progress towards defining the skills required. 

As part of the survey, NFP CEOs identified the top skills their employees need in the short term (i.e. the next 12 months) to prepare for technology’s impact on their role: 

  1. Training in new software and programs (27%)
  2. Data analysis (17%)
  3. Adaptability (15%)
  4. Teamwork/collaboration (14%)
Data Visualisation

It’s interesting to note that the top two fall into the technical skills, while the third and fourth options veer towards soft skills. The immediate need from the CEOs’ point of view is in using technology as an enabler to prepare for the impact on roles. 

A starting point and opportunity lies within the need to build employee engagement through open communication on skills of the future. Of the NFP CEOs surveyed, 58% say they are starting to make, or are making, moderate progress in building employee engagement through open communication, which mirrors the corporate view (also 58%).

Workers see the rise of digital technologies as a disruptive force. But there is a readiness among Australians to learn. PwC’s Upskilling Hopes and Fears survey shows 69% of adults are prepared to learn new skills or completely retrain to improve their future employability (this figure jumps to 77% among 18-34-year-olds). 

It’s important to have clear communication between employees and employers about the skills needed. This helps to prevent situations where investment in technology is made, but where no ongoing training is provided. 

Technology providers recognise the importance of supporting NFPs and often make software and hardware technology solutions available to the sector free of charge or heavily discounted. Sometimes free training accompanies the tools. 

This is welcome assistance however a place where digital enablement can fall down is in the occasional  piecemeal approach to technology implementation, where there is no overarching strategic overlay or no ongoing investment in training. There is an opportunity to simplify and remove ‘digital clutter’ from a workplace by streamlining processes and tools and reducing duplication.  

The challenge is whether all NFPs are set up to use the technology to their advantage and, more importantly, to embed it within their organisation. In many ways, NFPs are able to be nimble, flexible and make rapid decisions – but they need the training to ensure technology is being used to its full potential. 

Harness soft skills to take advantage of technical skills

PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey has highlighted that 78% of Australia’s corporate CEOs believe that the availability of key skills is a top threat to growth.

All organisations need to become part of Australia’s skills solution. NFP employers could collaborate with universities, government, corporations – including technology providers – and even competitors to build and prepare tomorrow’s workforce.

For NFPs, the need is greater than ever.

Nearly half (42%) of NFPs surveyed are making no progress or not even considering collaborating with academic/government institutions on futureproofing skills.

A third of Australia’s corporate CEOs feel the same. This is a lost opportunity. Collaboration with academic/government institutions can help organisations understand, prepare, develop and build the skills needed for the future.

Across the NFP sector, there is a generosity to give and to share. An appetite to support each other and many government grants now requires a showcase of how NFPs will collaborate in terms of funding use and service models. There is potential interest in leveraging alliances, but a lack of structured opportunity. 

So, while there may be access to the technology solutions, there is a burning need to upskill or retrain. This is where there are opportunities in collaboration: 

  • Across the sector and beyond competitive lines to partner with universities and academic institutions around digital skills so they’re accessible and scalable for the sector. 
  • Cross sector with technology providers so that their provision of technology is enhanced with ongoing training. 
  • Across employees so that they can embed the technology and solutions and support colleagues who may be late adopters.
  • As a citizen-led approach where volunteers share and create upskilling insights in their communities.   

This approach of sharing digital upskilling and resources would highly benefit the sector. Government can provide further support by incentivising cross sector groups including NFPs to join forces.

Contact us

Rosalie Wilkie

Rosalie Wilkie

Partner, Social Impact, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 8381

Jane Edwards

Jane Edwards

Director, Social Impact, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (3) 8603 5839

Kieran McCann

Kieran McCann

Head of Content and Thought Leadership, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (2) 8266 0252

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