#MercerChats Rewind: Three Simple Truths for Building a Future-Ready Workforce

#MercerChats Rewind: Redesigning the Work Experience in the Future of Work

Each month, Mercer brings together in-house experts and external thought leaders, subject matter experts and influencers for an online discussion of the most pressing issues in the future of work and health. The program is called #MercerChats and takes place entirely on Twitter, where individuals around the world engage with Mercer’s intellectual capital and other leading thought leadership to share insights and discuss the best solutions to help organizations thrive. Below is a summary of our July 2019 tweet chat, highlighting some of the key themes discussed and the best insights shared.

Einstein told us that time is relative, but you don’t need to be an astrophysicist to prove it. Just take a look at the world around you. The difference that five years can make in Jakarta is radically different than the difference it makes in London, and all markets are on their own journey to the future of work.

As a global firm with offices in 42 different countries around the world, Mercer sees how this advancement towards a digital, interconnected future impacts international markets every day. Whether it’s the search for the next Silicon Valley or the expansion of diversity & inclusion principles in new markets, there’s always a new opportunity or exciting development just over the horizon. The key is reaching that horizon and being prepared for whatever’s next.

This is where relativity comes into play. The pace of change is accelerating in the modern business landscape, and every market is advancing at its own rate and in its own way. While Indian employers are rethinking the employment experience to cater to a tech-focused workforce, China is solving for the retirement of 1.4 billion people. What can international markets learn from one another’s experience as they each evolve towards their own future of work, and what do their experiences foretell about what’s to come next?

At Mercer we have our own perspective, and we deeply value the voices leading the conversation in the marketplace. That’s why we invited the foremost experts in the world to join us for a discussion of the emergent trends in HR and digital transformation in tomorrow’s most dynamic markets. It was a fast-paced and insight-rich conversation. Here are some of the key takeaways from the most recent #MercerChats.

No Two Talent Markets Are Alike

No market is immune to the growing talent gap. Regardless of whether you’re hiring in Mexico City or Mumbai, every employer will struggle to find the talent they need to adapt to the challenges of tomorrow. But every market’s talent crunch is different. For some, the key challenge will be in reskilling existing workforces for a new economy, while others will struggle to prevent top flight workers from leaving for a better opportunity abroad.

Our #MercerChats participants identified this variance as a key obstacle, illustrating how multi-dimensional HR and talent management can be. We’ve moved well beyond thinking about talent markets as a linear continuum of development, moving from immature to advanced, industrial to technological, or uneducated-to-educated. Instead, it’s time to consider if a talent market is future-ready. This can mean its responsiveness to new technology or its capacity to deliver the much-sought-after “soft skills” needed for the future of work, but three things are clear: every market is looking to future-proof their talent for the jobs of today, tomorrow, and every market will need a localized strategy.






The Perfect Path Does Not Exist

Another thing that’s clear? That there is no such thing as a “mature” talent market. We can’t look to the concentration of PhD’s or MBA’s as an index as a market’s preparedness for the future of work, because by the time we finish counting, those degrees will be outdated. You may argue they already are.

Instead, it’s time we look at the ecosystem surrounding the talent and assess how prepared it is to support a future-ready workforce. Does this culture embrace learning and innovation? How rigid are career trajectories and hierarchies? Are employers and employees receptive to new solutions and skills? These answers to these questions are more likely to determine the fate of any market than the academic laurels of its constituents, and its these in areas where international markets excel.  


A3. The pace of #technology evolution creates the need to understand and change the culture of learning as a continuous and lifelong process.

Despite the growing need for reskilling, opportunities for broad-based and inclusive reskilling are not available.#MercerChats

— Helen Yu (@YuHelenYu) 24 de septiembre de 2019

Multiple generations will be in the workplace together. Smart companies will harness the energy from this dynamic &encourage mentoring & reverse mentoring#MercerChats

— carrie maslen (@carriemaslen) 24 de septiembre de 2019


A2: Organizations are using Technology of gaming and
assessments in order to match candidates with the right of skills required https://t.co/beKYrSULaD #MercerChats #LATAM #DigitalTransformation

— Cecilia I. Giordano (@Ceci_1974) 24 de septiembre de 2019

A5. The greatest advantage as I mentioned before is a growing population. The greatest disadvantage however is access to homegrown talent and a lack of #leadership in the technologies of tomorrow like #AI and advanced #robotics#MercerChats pic.twitter.com/ert8xGuMxY

— Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary) 24 de septiembre de 2019




Technology is Here to Help

Bringing this constellation of talent markets into a joint future of work means breaking the development cycle, and that requires a quantum leap in tools and connectivity to bridge the divide. Luckily, technology is here to empower organizations and people to make that leap. Whether it’s AI, 5G, or blockchain, the modern economy is developing at such a breakneck pace that every day is a fresh start. To be unmoored by legacy systems and outmoded powerbrokers is to have a jumpstart on whatever will drive growth in the future of work.

And this is why there is reason for unbridled optimism for the potential of international markets. They are more than “untapped” consumer markets or talent pools; they’re under-resourced innovation hubs, growth centers, and case studies for future success. If all it takes to unlock the paradigm shifting potential of international markets is paradigm shifting technology, then there’s no time like the present. The tech is here, and international markets are, too.  


A2.1 IMHO, 5G has the greatest potential to accelerate growth in developing and emerging economies. It can provide access to its population to the growing global digital economy, and enable exciting end user applications such as #mercerchats

— Stela Lupushor (@slupusho) 24 de septiembre de 2019

A1.1 Companies in developing markets (DevM) have the opportunity to leap-frog developed nations by skipping intermediate technologies. Much of Africa has forgone laying phone lines, because they went straight to cellular… #DDD #MercerChats https://t.co/UpuyjH9gRA

— Norman Dreger (@NormanDreger) 24 de septiembre de 2019


A2) Even a stable network of 3G/4G #data / Communications would accelerate growth and business in MANY 3rd world countries 🤔 #MercerChats #FutureOfWork

— Jan Barbosa 🐝 (@JBarbosaPR) 24 de septiembre de 2019





So what are the lessons for leaders, employers and employees in international markets, and how can they be ready for the future of work? Understanding your path to the future means understanding these three simple truths:

  • Every market is on its own journey: Whether you’re looking at two cities on different sides of the world or different sides of the country, every talent market is unique and has its own potentials and pitfalls. It’s important that we recognize these variations and account for them as we develop growth plans and trajectories.

  • Diversity of talent is key: No one knows the future, and that’s good for international markets. Growing populations and the lack of entrenched investment in outmoded business models mean international markets can be ultra-responsive to emerging trends. Diversity of talent in international markets means a greater variety of solutions to apply to the problems of tomorrow. 

  • Technology is a great equalizer: It’s never been this easy to integrate international markets into the global economy, as mobility and connectivity bring new locations into the fold. But many markets aren’t just playing catch-up, they’re innovating with now solutions and leapfrogging more traditional economic hubs. 

Danielle Guzman
by Danielle Guzman

Global Head of Social Media