How do you hire for the future?


At Peregrine, one of our core business tasks is assessing and optimising organisational setups to master the challenges today’s companies are facing. Technological progress is constantly challenging economies and therefore workforce requirements.

The World Economic Forum recently noted that 65% of the jobs our children will do in the future don't even exist today. Similarly, a Dell report predicted 85% of jobs from 2030 will be invented between now and then.

Just look at the past decade and be reminded that jobs we have become so accustomed to today, barely existed 10 years ago: Roles like App Developer (first iPhone come out 2007, first Android powered phones shortly after), Uber driver (Uber started 2009), even Social Media / Community Managers weren’t really a thing until the late 2000’s. Data Scientists didn’t exist, neither did Drone Operators, Marketing Automation Specialists, Vloggers, Podcast Producer and all the ‘Influencers’. Today we have Cloud Architects, Emoji Translators and all kinds of robots and AI technologies take over jobs such as inventory management, customer service and driving cars.

In our line of work, we are noticing businesses are typically held-back by an insufficient digital vision and strategy, as well as a somewhat conservative mentality and company culture which might be a struggle to change from within alone.

Our approach is to analyse and optimise (digitize where possible) processes first. We are looking at technology as an enabler for process improvement secondly, and only then do we look at competencies needed to drive and leverage this process-focused tech-setup, by identifying the most suitable people profiles.

When hiring the right people for the right tasks, their experience may become less of a reliable prediction of their future performance, since some of the problems you will be facing tomorrow do not exist today.

Same goes for formal education as a success prediction factor. It is becoming increasingly difficult to evaluate good schools and programs based on historical data. We believe in (and recommend) hiring for potential for high performance, for ability of strategic thinking, emotional intelligence, curiosity and agility. Basic digital literacy is also already critical for the modern workforce, not just in marketing and advertising.

As technology transforms the economy, many individuals will need to not just learn, but re-learn new skills in order to remain competitive in their field of work. And while workers displaced by automation are easily identified, new jobs being created indirectly from technology, are often less visible and spread across different sectors.

As machines and people are expected to work more closely together, why not get a head start today. A recent McKinsey report estimates 50% of today’s jobs are susceptible to artificial intelligence capabilities that are already in the market. Unsurprisingly, artificial intelligence, widening skills gaps, as well as the rise of independent workers will dramatically impact the way we work.

Our own team here at Peregrine must be adaptable to constant change, and we think many organisations we work with also need to start looking for people for specific tasks rather than predefined and historically narrow jobs. Continuous development and desire to learn are the applicant qualities to look out for.

McKinsey estimates 75 million to 375 million people may need to switch occupational categories, upskill or learn new skills when their traditional roles are being gradually impacted or replaced by automation over the next 15 years or so. This very likely includes many of us and our current duties (analytics, media buying, manual campaign optimisation etc. comes to mind).

But does that mean we should worry? Probably less than we think. Over time, labor markets usually adjust to changes in demand for workers from technological disruptions. And with sufficient economic growth, innovation, and investment, there would be enough new job creation to offset the impact of automation. As long as we never stop learning, there’s a place for us in the future!

As always, we are curious to hear what you think. Are you worried about 'hiring for the future' or if your own current skill-set will stand the test of time? Let us know in the comments. Contact us if you want to learn more about our services.