Q&A with

Kevin Murphy


What does the Future of Work look like to you?

Strategic Workforce Planning expert, Kevin Murphy

Firstly, there’s nothing future about it – we’re immersed in it now. Tech advancements are forcing us to face early career jobs a lot earlier because grads are far more educated and skills-ready for a digital career than ever before. From doing the photocopying and picking up the coffees, to using tools to gather research or analyse data – entry level jobs are getting far more complex, accelerating development from the beginning and adding value a lot earlier than ever before. AI will force us to reassess how we view hard and soft skills in grads and specialists, and Arts degrees will be more popular than ever because creativity is one of the most valued skills for businesses today. We’re planning ahead by 3- 5 years, but there will always be the unpredictable elements that aren’t quite clear to us and I’m very interested to see how our plans develop.

“There’s nothing Future about the Future of Work. We’re immersed in it now”

"We aren’t downsizing teams in number necessarily, but are opening our minds to the understanding that the team may not be entirely human”

How will AI or Automation affect your business?

I know it has been predicted that it will cause a 14% loss of roles. I’m not sure about that for RMIT - we weren’t expecting to see a massive downsize in our teams, but opening our minds to the understanding that the team may not be entirely human.

How can businesses best prepare?

Organisations need to have an enterprise wide plan that is far greater than just 1 year ahead to best deliver a product. Modelling should be on a 3-5 year plan, based on predictive analytics. The gig economy is a fundamental way for the following generations to work and develop as people are realising that benefits like Long Service Leave is an odd concept. You get paid to work each day, then paid for additional leave - it’s like paying an employee twice! I think organisations are going to be moving away from enterprise offerings like that and move towards smarter, more flexible models, particularly when those benefits are tenure based and new generations are looking for experiences over tenure.

Do you look for certain hard skills and soft skills in your hiring processes and has this changed at all?

Our processes haven’t changed enough. We should be looking for soft skills like:
  • Critical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Likes or is comfortable with ambiguity
  • Design thinking (having a customer in mind)
They’re not new skills, but their relevance has changed. As we move towards a more blended workforce, having empathy for generational and cultural splits is important too. Hard skills are changing so quickly – they can be learnt on
the job. Millennials are completely online, so educational institutes and the workplace need to match that.

"HR leaders today need to be more business savvy, asking themselves ‘What are the skills and drivers needed to grow the business and at what cost base?’....Weploy is well positioned to help businesses flex up their workforce to meet capacity and skill shortages”

How far should AI and Automation be affecting recruitment processes? Should this be a workforce planning or recruitment responsibility?

If Workforce Planning sits within HR then they will be working together, but sometimes it sits within a business improvement function. HR needs to change the value this function brings to the business - people are the greatest asset and biggest expense for most. HR leaders today need to be more business savvy, asking themselves “What are the skills and drivers needed to grow the business and at what cost base?” They should be advising the business heads on what they WILL need 3-5 years from now, and failure to do so is just building redundancy costs in the future. Businesses should interrogate their redundancy costs to truly understand why they occur. There is a fair chance those costs are due to lack of long term workforce planning or not understanding the skills required to future proof the business. If planning was a little more sophisticated, these costs would be significantly reduced.

What are the benefits for companies using Contingent Staff in the Future of Work?

The change in the work contract makes businesses like Weploy very useful to employers. Organisations are looking at their value chains to see how work can be done with a better user experience and Weploy are well positioned to help businesses flex their workforce to meet capacity and skill shortages.

Be prepared for the Future of Work

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