Executive search and talent management business Adastrum Consulting predicts that two topics will dominate the talent management space during 2015.

As businesses plan for the year ahead, Adastrum Consulting urges them to keep the following clearly in mind:

1. Digital skills

Digital skills will remain in high demand during 2015 and the digital skills gap at senior level will become more apparent. The real challenge for many businesses will still be adopting and embracing the new ways of working and non-traditional business models that a digital approach brings.

Organisations will need to look into different, non-obvious sectors to source the appropriate digital talent and knowledge, with Adastrum Consulting foreseeing an increasing number turning to industries that have either been through a digital transformation such as media or industries that are digitally native such as the high tech sector to find people with the skills they need. 

Chris Underwood, Managing Director at Adastrum Consulting explains: “Smart businesses appreciate that digital now affects nearly every aspect of an organisation, at all levels, and that it is not something that can be seen solely as a technology issue or solved by merely creating an app.

“Those people with digital skills and experience, who have a track record of transforming organisations or that are "digitally native" are going to be most in demand. To really benefit from digital, businesses need to learn to work in new ways and need senior members who not only understand how digital can transform a business, but also communicate that and affect change across an entire organisation.

“As the year progresses, we believe the digital skills gap at a senior level will become more apparent and given the speed and pace of change of organisations that are digitally enabled we would urge businesses to address the issue sooner rather than later.”

2. Gender diversity

2015 will also see debate continue around the gender diversity agenda, building on the momentum gained in 2014.  There is scope for much more to be done in moving the conversation forward, not just in terms of flexible working practices, but also how organisations approach the interview and assessment process when recruiting women. 

According to Underwood: “We’re increasingly seeing clients specifically asking us to include women on our short-lists, and while this is encouraging, more still needs to be done. While organisations are increasingly recognising that women have a hugely valuable role to play at a senior level, they are not necessarily putting measures in place to entice them. A cultural shift is certainly needed, where for example flexible working is not something given grudgingly, but offered as standard regardless of gender and those that are involved in the appointment process are aware of the different communication and interview styles of men and women”