PwC’s John Karren: The Workforce of Tomorrow Is Here, Seize It

Automation and technological innovation are radically transforming the way businesses operate but rather than fearing mass unemployment and a human workforce uprooted by artificial intelligence, businesses should take a proactive approach to retain existing employees for emerging jobs while evolving to meet the needs of a younger generation. That was a key message John Karren, U.S. digital workforce transformation leader and partner for PwC, delivered during a keynote address at the MICHauto Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with the 2017 MICHauto Summit.

“Most commentators agree that the world is changing faster than ever before in history,” Karren said, adding that 47 percent of job categories will be automated by 2020.

While he acknowledged that the job landscape is evolving, Karren said the need for a human workforce will not go away. Karren said automating tasks makes other uniquely human skills more important.

“Technology magnifies our leverage, our judgement and creativity instead of replacing it,” he said.

Staying ahead of the technology curve, Karren said, is predicated on attracting the best and brightest and addressing evolving workforce expectations — current workforces expect a mobile environment, are fueling the new “freelance economy,” and typically spend no longer than 16 months with any employer on average, he said. This is particularly important to note as in-demand jobs allow individuals more freedom to seek out companies that meet their needs.

“Talent and capabilities management must be the No. 1 priority, or risk losing the battle to harness technological breakthroughs in your respective market,” Karren said.

With an increased focus on automated processes, today’s skills battleground is for soft skills — creativity and innovation, leadership, adaptability and problem solving — technical skills alone are not enough, Karren added.

Key Takeaways:

  • The future of work is about today. The world of work is changing rapidly and if companies aren’t thinking about this than they are behind.
  • The future isn’t linear or predictable. Plan for a dynamic rather than static future.
  • Multiple external and internal change drivers (i.e. emerging technologies and artificial intelligence, increased globalization, and the gig economy) are impacting today’s workforce.
  • Businesses must integrate scenario planning across strategy, finance and workforce.
  • Integrating humans and technology is crucial.
  • Good employers manage today’s AND tomorrow’s people issues – wellness, reskilling, rewards, employer models, mobility, immigration and productivity.
  • Companies should engage and manage multiple stakeholders (current/future customers, employees, leadership, society, community, government, vendors, etc.) in future planning.

For Auto Industry, Attracting and Retaining Millennial Talent Requires an Inclusive Company Culture

By Daniel Lai

The millennial generation is the fastest-rising workforce and will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, according to PwC. In order for Michigan’s automotive and mobility industry to reap the talent it needs to maintain its leadership in connected and autonomous vehicle development, changing “the company culture” to appeal to millennials is not only necessary, it is essential. That was a key message Marvin Mendoza, director of talent innovation at PwC, delivered to more than 150 automotive industry leaders and stakeholders at the sixth MICHauto Annual Meeting.

“What we’re seeing, regardless of industry, are three megatrends impacting businesses: the rise of the millennial workforce, the rise of the flexible and freelance workforce, and the explosion of mobile and digital technology,” Mendoza said. “To stay ahead of the game, you have to adapt to these trends quickly and strategically.”

According to Mendoza, companies must adjust their culture to appeal to the next generation of talent. In conducting its own study, PwC determined that millennials are highly satisfied working for companies that provide: opportunity for career progression, merit bonuses, training, flexible working schedules, and a sense of doing something “good” for society. Additionally, millennials prefer to receive performance feedback in a real-time face-to-face environment.

Following Mendoza’s presentation, he was joined on stage by Anya Babbitt, founder and CEO of SPLT; Steven Fitzgerald, vice president and chief human resources officer for Visteon Corp.; and David Whitman, senior manager of global talent acquisition strategy and business planning for General Motors Co., for a discussion on how the “culture of making a difference” has positively impacted their business’s growth.

“We see a lot of talent coming back to Michigan,” Whitman said. “We have figured out that if people feel like they are making a difference in a very real way, and if they are happy, they will stay. What better way to capitalize on this than this convergence of the automotive and technology industries?”

In responding to a question from moderator Joann Muller, Detroit bureau chief for Forbes Media LLC, about preparing the next-generation to fill the talent pipeline, Fitzgerald said Michigan universities have stepped up with a plethora of degree programs. However, the automotive industry must not be afraid to look globally.

“There are only 300 million people in the United States trying to fill the demand of a global population of 7 billion people. There’s no way that a country as proportionally small as the United States is to the world can keep up with the talent demand in education if we continue to look solely in our borders,” he said.

MICHauto Names Sen. Ken Horn Legislator of the Year; American Axle’s Bill Smith Honored for Volunteerism

PwC US Announces New Managing Partner as Firm Opens Doors at One Detroit Center

Ray Telang is Appointed Managing Partner for PwC’s Michigan and Northwest Ohio Practice as 700 employees moving into new space

DETROIT, December 18, 2012 – PwC US, one of Metro Detroit’s largest professional services firms, announced today that it has appointed Detroit-based Ray Telang as market managing partner for its Greater Michigan Market, which includes Michigan and Northwest Ohio. This news comes as the firm relocated its more than 700 people to a new home in Downtown Detroit’s One Detroit Center.

“Ray brings more than 20 years of accounting and business consulting knowledge to our clients in the region, including a proven track record serving Michigan’s largest public and private companies,” said Dave Breen, PwC’s outgoing market managing partner who will retire this summer after 38 years with the firm.  “Ray’s wide range of client and leadership experiences will serve him well in taking on this important role for our market and the firm.”

A native Detroiter and proud to call this community his home, Telang joined PwC’s Detroit office in 1988 and previously served as the Greater Michigan market assurance leader where he led more than 350 partners and staff. He is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in Michigan and New York and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants.

Telang received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and currently serves on the Paton Accounting Advisory Board of its Ross Business School, as well as the Audit Committee of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

A promising future in downtown Detroit

With veteran partner Telang leading the practice, PwC, which provides auditing and assurance, tax and consulting services, has recommitted to a future in downtown Detroit. The firm signed a multi-year lease to occupy approximately 70,000 square feet of the building located at 500 Woodward in the heart of the city. The firm will occupy three floors of the landmark building.

In addition to signaling its faith in an exciting and thriving part of the central business district, PwC chose the building to accommodate its new flexible workspace needs and growing workforce.

Commenting on his strategic vision for the practice, Telang stated, “Greater Michigan is home to some of the nation’s most notable companies, and PwC is committed to delivering high quality services to assist our clients in managing their growth. We see a bright future here and intend to continue our commitment to the city of Detroit and to the community in our new space.”

In talking about the new workspace, Telang noted that PwC’s business and culture are based on building relationships, providing quality services and delivering value for our clients.

“We’re building our space based on feedback from our people, which will include the traditional enclosed offices and a more modern and progressive open floor plan, to enhance team collaboration and client service delivery,” Telang said.  “This will be aided by advanced media sharing technologies throughout the office.  We’re building the workplace of the future with a focus on efficiency, personal flexibility and a concern for the environment.”

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