Competition for Bermuda talent heats up
The competition for Bermuda’s brightest minds is on.
The pandemic has highlighted the need to cultivate the supply of local talent for Bermuda companies.
Corporate Bermuda faces an ageing population and global competition for qualified staff. The challenge is to maintain a local talent pipeline, offer them opportunities and become competitively involved in cultivating the best prospects.
Felicia Steffen, advisory consulting manager at PwC Bermuda, said more companies were offering Bermudian internships.
She said: "The pandemic has helped companies focus on young talent.
"With all that has happened with Covid, companies are really looking to find their local talent, as part of helping their companies grow.
"In Bermuda, there is a limited supply of local talent. Students go away to university and then find jobs where they are: Canada, the UK or US.
"So when companies find Bermudians to join their firm, they want to make sure they continue to show their appreciation and that helps with our talent pipeline.
"Keeping leading people in Bermuda is tough because there is a war on talent everywhere. And you may be seeing it show up in the news a lot. But Bermuda companies are realising that if we want to keep smart people around, we have to show that we are really committed.
"It is showing up in the press releases (announcing internships, scholarships and promotions) as companies put real thought into how we grow and nurture talent to show them that it makes sense for them to be with us in Bermuda, and not in New York or elsewhere.
"Some of the firms have offices elsewhere and offer the opportunity for staff to do a rotation in those other offices in other cities. For students, interning is a way of getting a foot in the door in any number of industries and an opportunity to get experience.
“But companies must maintain a positive connection with students returning from a final year of schooling. They need to reconnect in a way that will help former interns/new recruits to grow over those first few years in the business world.”
Ms Steffen was discussing PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022, which involved surveying 52,000 workers around the world. She believes there are lessons to be learnt from the survey for Bermuda companies and those in any country.
Bhushan Sethi, Joint Global Leader, People and Organisation, at PwC said there was much to glean from the survey.
He said: "The fact that pay is now table stakes, obviously in a high inflation world, you have to adjust pay accordingly. People have to pay their rent, pay for food and gas, etc, but job fulfilment and the ability to be oneself is important. And top talent will demand that.
“I had a discussion with a local partner and our actual human resources leader in Bermuda who reaffirmed that. We have to accentuate wellbeing and fulfilment and make people's jobs meaningful, and explain how what people are doing has real purpose, especially for the younger generation. They want to do work that is meaningful to them and that is impactful.
“So, that is compelling and is the way that every manager, every human resources leader needs to take notice to say: ’How can we make the job more fulfilling, whether it is workloads, investing in modern technology, explaining the purpose of what you are doing and how it affects the business outcome.’
Some clear trends emerge from the survey – the third since 2019 – that demonstrate a need for companies to listen to their valued staff as more of them realise their own worth and are now more likely to comparison shop. Happiness on the job, not surprisingly, rivals pay as a key reason to stay.
The survey underscores the need for more training, especially for the corporate leaders who need to know how to read the office tea leaves.
The survey shows that many companies risk taking their workers for granted – whether it is by not paying close enough attention to skilled workers who are at elevated risk of quitting, failing to support workers who seek personal fulfilment and meaning at work, or by missing opportunities to build the trust that so often leads to positive outcomes at the personal, professional and even societal levels.
Retaining these employees will require more than just pay. Fulfilling work and the opportunity to be one’s authentic self at work also matter to employees who are considering a job change, the survey shows.
It said: “For global leaders, some of our results will be a wake-up call. Workers who feel empowered by their current circumstances – ie those with specialised or scarce skills – are ready to test the market.
“More than one-third of respondents plan to ask for a raise in the coming year and one in five said they were extremely or very likely to switch employers.
“Retaining these employees will require more than just pay. Fulfilling work and the opportunity to be one’s authentic self at work also matter to employees who are considering a job change.
“Our results also show that sensitive political and social discussions – topics that themselves hinge on issues of power and its distribution – are happening in the workplace, largely without company involvement, and are generating positive dividends for employees.
“Also, workers want more support in translating environmental, social and governance considerations to their work. And as leaders develop hybrid work models, they need to consider the 45 per cent of the workforce that can’t work remotely – people who do essential work – but report feeling less fulfilled and empowered than respondents who can work remotely.”
The upshot for the C-suite?
Leaders must remember that employees are a key factor in a company’s success or failure.
PwC research found that the workforce is the number one risk to growth – and also the principal means by which companies can execute growth-driven strategies.
Therefore, understanding the power exchange in the workplace can help leaders energise their workforce, tap into the power of their people and accomplish bolder goals.
Ms Steffen said: "We do a compensation and benefits survey in Bermuda that generally deals with the financial services sector, but you get a glimpse into the other sectors in Bermuda in terms of how you talk about equitable pay, but also the full equation of what your benefits include and what is making it worthwhile for staff to stay.
“So when we have a conversation with leaders, we talk about knowing what their people want, whether it is by an anonymous survey or a round table discussion and making sure they are in touch with those who work for them, to make sure that they are meeting their needs.
“Because there are people in Bermuda having a hard time making rent and are looking for relief from the Government.
“So, where can companies work with their employees to make life easier for them and make their work fulfilling?
“There's also a flexibility issue. For those not in the service sector – some people may need a little time to pick up children from school, for example.”
The PwC survey began in 2019 with a baseline of 10,000 respondents. It was grown to 30,000 in 2020 and deliberately to 52,000 in 2022.
Mr Sethi points out that even in 2019, there was a workplace desire for training in digital skills, but the pandemic laid bare the inequity that those able to work from home were in a better position for reskilling.
That often left out in the cold, the 45 per cent of the workforce whose jobs did not lend themselves to remote working.
But even on the job there is a disconnect that arises, with some bosses unaware that more people have keyed into social issues, especially the ones they see affecting them, regionally, ethnically or even just emotionally, he said.
Two thirds of respondents to these questions indicated a positive experience from just being able to exchange views with other workers.