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AFTF 2021: building the workforce of the future, today

ANZ Insights

Published October 27, 2021

Businesses need to build a workforce agile enough to keep up with the technological-led acceleration that has indelibly changed the way we work, according to Kathryn van der Merwe, ANZ’s Group Executive, Talent & Culture and Service Centres.

Speaking at the 2021 ANZ Finance & Treasury Forum, van der Merwe said businesses would benefit from creating workforces that wereflexible and adaptable and able to keep pace with the change we need them to respond to”.

At ANZ, to meet rising customer demand, the bank is currently “reassessing its core people technology”, van der Merwe said, and building a new “capability framework”.

“We're breaking that down into types of work, not roles,” she said.

van der Merwe cited the growing need for data scientists, a position ANZ has found requires similar skills to a financial analyst.

“Actually if you break those roles down [into] the types of work, there’s actually a lot of overlap,” she said.

“There’s just a smaller set of gaps that you need to address in order to create more data scientists.”

ANZ encourages its staff to develop depth in their skills, “as well as breadth” van der Merwe said, and think about a “long-term career [that navigates] across the two”.

“Thinking about work in that way helps us create a more adaptable, flexible workforce that's able to keep evolving at a faster pace.”

And the pace of change going forward will be relentless with investment in technology. A recent report published by consultancy firm McKinsey suggested COVID-19 has accelerated the digitisation of customer interactions by up to four years and the launch of digitally-enabled products by as much as seven years.  

The ANZ Finance & Treasury Forum returned for its fourth year in 2021, held virtually across two days on October 20 and 21.

The forum explored key topics of global importance to your business today, with a fantastic speaker line-up across geopolitics, sustainability, technology, pandemic outcomes and leadership.

ANZ Insights will provide coverage and insights into the key themes from the forum and beyond. If you missed the live event and want to catch up, the entire program is available on demand. Please contact your ANZ relationship manager for more information.

Click here to see our full coverage of the event

Durable vs perishable

ANZ is undertaking initiatives to develop “durable” as opposed to “perishable” skills in its workforce, according to van der Merwe.

“One of the enduring skills we’re looking for in people is that they have a growth mindset - a willingness to learn and adapt,” she said.

Employers have a responsibility to equip staff with the tools and skills to help them stay productive, recognising the difficulties thrown up by the pandemic, van der Merwe said.

As employers, there's an increased onus on us to help people understand what those skills are that they need [to] keep investing in to stay relevant,” she said.

ANZ Chief Economist Richard Yetsenga said the pandemic has impacted segments of the global workforce differently.

“Women in Japan, for instance, are more likely to live alone,” he said. “[There are] quite different implications for them during lockdown than other parts of the community.”

Yetsenga hopes businesses begin using data to help address issues like the gender pay gap or minority employment ceilings, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

“These are not new issues”, he said, “but with populations getting older, we're recognising more and more we need to harness the power of the human capital we have as effectively as we can.”

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AFTF 2021: building the workforce of the future, today
Staff writer
ANZ Insights
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