Gabriel Aparicio
Country Manager
Kelly Services

Specialized Talent Meets Future Needs

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:33

Constant technology advances have made innovation and knowledge generation the two most important drivers in economic development and Mexico is no stranger to this trend, according to Gabriel Aparicio, Country Manager of recruitment and talent management company Kelly Services. “To comply with investors’ needs and attract further FDI, we require a combination of material resources, adequate technology and talent,” he says. 
Although it offers many favorable investment conditions, the country still needs to bolster its talent specialization to increase economic competitiveness. However, talent specialization does not come easy and Aparicio says the country needs to change its educational model and make it shorter to deliver the personnel the industry demands. “If students graduated from college in less time than they do now, this could help to satisfy the existing talent demand in the market,” he says. “We need to reduce dropout rates at the college level, which is among the main obstacles to talent specialization.”  
Along with changing the education model, Aparicio says a change in mindset among students and employees is also necessary to incentivize continuous education toward specialization, the lack of which is impacting the country’s ability to fully participate in Industry 4.0 “We cannot deny we are a manufacturing country,” says Aparicio. “However, we need to change this mindset and become a hub for technology innovation and knowledge generation. This will lead to greater competitiveness and productivity.” 
Beyond manufacturing processes, changes deriving from Industry 4.0 will impact people’s way of life, work and management practices used in the corporate sector. Work flexibility based on talent availability for temporary hiring will be among the practices that will attract the most attention, although Aparicio thinks this type of work has been unfairly stigmatized in various regions. “A flexible workforce helps organizations to complement their internal talent, thus driving growth,” he says. In the manufacturing industry, in particular, companies must solve problems immediately, which means that if their in-house talent cannot solve these issues, they need to look for flexible labor that can provide a solution. Still, companies tend to oppose this flexible model because they are afraid the quality of their services will be compromised, Aparicio adds.
According to “Eight Futures of Work,” a white paper released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), flexibility  — considered as varying working hours and a mix of full-time and parttime jobs — is a key element in addressing labor surplus and deficit. Aparicio says globally, one in every three employees is hired under a flexible work scheme, with Asian countries being the main adopters of this trend. Even though Latin American countries are not among the early adopters, most countries in the region have made significant advances in its implementation and now legislation must catch up to incentivize the use of this scheme. “Organizations and institutions need to start a re-education process to break the stigma regarding non-traditional work styles,” he says. “According to WEF, 80 percent of the work we will do by 2020 will be completed in nontraditional places. This will require hyper-connectivity, collaboration and transparency to reach results.” Adding to the need of flexible talent, WEF states that between 2015 and 2020, a total of 7.1 million traditional jobs could be lost due to disruptive changes in the market stemming from Industry 4.0, which is why Aparicio argues that job flexibility will provide new employment options. 
Before moving into new trends, however, Aparicio says the country should focus its efforts on tackling labor informality or it could lose its economic competitiveness. “In Mexico, one in every six jobs is linked to informality,” he says. “These workers have no access to social security, which is an important component of a person’s well-being and a key to ensure productivity.” Kelly Services is adapting its processes to continue leading in the job recruitment sector, under new paradigms privileging non-traditional workstyles. Together with flexibility, the company has made specialization a priority, without dropping the ball on the importance of talent formality. “Kelly Services was the pioneer in outsourcing services in the country,” says Aparicio. “To help the country move forward, we must be promoters of formal employment, which is the only thing that will make the country grow.”