Due to the impact of the pandemic, specialists in e-withgoods, Cybersecurity, digital transformation, among others, gained ground in the labor field due to their technical mastery of areas related to the abrupt changes that the market suffered. This context has increased the need for workers also known as gray-collar, technical profiles with characteristics of the white-collar (professionals) and blue-collar (operational) workforce.
According to UKG, this year that is just beginning will be accompanied by increased reliance on gray-collar workers for their combination of technical competencies and skills, such as digital talent with extensive knowledge in the field of technology and who at the same time executes operational tasks.
“The importance, prevalence and influence of the gray-collar worker is growing as more blue-collar fields move to the gray-collar category,” says the human capital management solutions firm.
A study by NTT Data México identified that seven out of 10 large companies in Latin America evaluate in their strategic plans the possibility of replace or transform essential activities performed by employees by automated solutions. This panorama is also one of the factors that has increased dependence on specialized profiles, since the mix of technical competencies and soft skills it makes them less likely to be superseded by automation.
However, one of the challenges that the Human Resources areas will face in 2022 is the attraction and retention of this talent due to the shortage of technical profiles in the market, which leads these professionals to locate themselves in a reality closer to the phenomenon of the “great resignation.”
“Entrepreneurs must rethink your approach to hiring of gray-collar workers, as their highly skilled and agile nature demands high pay and flexibility, “says Jarik Conrad, UKG Vice President Human Insights and HCM Advisory.
The need for technical profiles in organizations and the limited availability in the market is one of the reasons why professionals in the technology field have had the strongest salary increases in the last year.
In an effort to retain gray-collar workers, tech pay increases have reached 30% on average, according to the Remuneration Studyn in MMexico and Central Americarica 2022 of PageGroup.
Jarik Conrad thinks that offering better compensation to technical profiles will not be enough to satisfy dependency that companies will have and in that sense, it will also be important to redesign the recruitment processes.
“They should also reassess degree requirements, as a barrier to opportunity, as many gray-collar roles are unique and require significant on-the-job training, making higher education potentially unnecessary. Rethinking the interview process could also be beneficial, as the traditional conversational interview may not be appropriate; instead, an assessment of technical skills may better match the candidate’s assessment, ”he says.
Furthermore, in a context in which the skills required to adapt to new business models are constantly changing, the renting of workers It is an option that companies must explore to satisfy the high demand for technical professionals.
“Entrepreneurs may also consider the possibility of convert existing collaborators into gray-collar workers through apprenticeships and specific training for the job, in order to fill the job gap and promote the growth of employees within the organization ”, says Jarik Conrad.
This is a major challenge for human resources areas in the following year, because while a high proportion of large companies plan to invest in automation, the number of organizations that plan to retrain their workforce to develop the new skills is low. required.
Get ahead of regulation
Reliance on gray-collar workers is one of the three megatrends UKG envisions for human capital departments in 2022. Along with this phenomenon, a pending subject of organizations is to get ahead of regulations.
In Mexico, for example, teleworking was regulated in the Federal Labor Law (LFT) almost a year after the modality began to be used more due to economic restrictions due to the health emergency. Some companies implemented internal policies for the home office And when the legal changes came into force, they only had to make a few adjustments, but other organizations waited for the labor law to dictate the rules.
“Large organizations that have paid close attention to industry trends and public sentiment understand that the long-term penalties of being seen as unable or unwilling to adapt are much worse than any fine in the short term, “says Jarik Conrad.
In this vein, during 2022 human resources must be characterized by a proactive approach to compliance with regulations before the authorities force the company to do so. Especially in a context where the labor legislation is expected to continue with updates.
The third megatrend is the leadership ethics, linked to the growth of the business while preserving the values of the organization, an important issue in an environment in which diversity, equity, inclusion and care for the environment are fundamental elements in the workplace.
“The last two years have been extremely difficult for organizations of all sizes, and we have seen remarkable results from those companies that did the right thing for their people, their customers, and their wider communities. In 2022, high-performing companies will build on their commitment to change, changing the way they hire employees, changing the status quo through more ethical and inclusive leadership, and changing mindsets to move from addressing the present. to invest in the future, ”Conrad said.