ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising on the Workforce Challenges CEOs Are Facing

ManpowerGroup CEO and chairman Jonas Prising.

Jonas Prising knows the world of work, inside and out. He was named CEO of workforce solutions leader ManpowerGroup in 2014 and chairman in 2015, leading all aspects of the company’s $20 billion business across 80 different countries and territories.

Chief Executive asked Prising to share his thoughts on the biggest workforce challenges CEOs are facing today, what business leaders should know about ManpowerGroup’s new Work to Change the World sustainability website and the key traits he looks for in potential employees when adding to his own team at ManpowerGroup.

Q: Generally speaking, what are some of the biggest workforce challenges that CEOs are facing today?

A: The impact of technology on organizations of every size and sector is infinite, and we know the pace of disruption is accelerating. By 2020, 30 percent of industry revenues will come from new business models.

Rarely a day goes by without news of digitization, artificial intelligence and virtual reality impacting the workplace. Rapid digital transformation is what is needed to capture opportunity and compete. Attracting, developing and retaining your brightest and best and creating a culture of learnability (the desire and ability to continually learn) will be critical. So too will developing leaders that are ready to lead in the digital age.

Digital transformation means the skills of tomorrow will look very different to today. In this Skills Revolution helping people upskill and adapt to this fast-changing world of work will will be the defining labor challenge of our time.

“The imperative for the right leaders to drive the right behaviors has never been greater.”

Q: What should CEOs know about ManpowerGroup’s new Work to Change the World sustainability website and how it can benefit their organizations?

A: We believe meaningful and sustainable work has the power to change the world and our new Work to Change the World sustainability website demonstrates the transformative impact skills, work and jobs have on individuals, families and communities.

We launched the website as part of our first global Sustainability Week in September to coincide with the UN General Assembly Debate and show our active support for UN Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5, 8 and 10.

We share how ManpowerGroup countries across the world contribute to our sustainability plan, working with employers and governments to get young people ready for work, help people upskill and create integrated and inclusive workplaces.

This is how we provide people with the experience and opportunities they need to be resilient and to chart career paths in a fast-changing world of work, while providing robust solutions that allow companies the strategic flexibility and skilled talent they need to be nimble and successful.

Q: As a CEO, what are some of the big challenges you and your organization will be taking on in the year ahead?

A: Like any global business in this world of constant change our biggest opportunity comes in the form of technological disruption and digital transformation.

Companies that embrace digital transformation are 26% more profitable than their competitors and enjoy a 12% higher market valuation. Transforming needs to be continuous for organizations to stay ahead and remain competitive. Digital transformation is by no means a one and done.

As a business we are super users of technology and we continue to invest in high tech – high touch digital solutions that ensure we’re delivering best in class services and value where our clients need it. And we’re working to reskill the workforce to meet the technological changes head on with the best placed talent pool and skillsets.

Q: What are some of the key traits you look for in potential employees when adding to your own team at ManpowerGroup?

A: When hiring for senior positions we look for people who demonstrate they can take advantage of new tools and fresh thinking that help maximize opportunity. In this period of rapid digital transformation leaders must keep the business running smoothly with one hand while preparing for a different future with the other.

The imperative for the right leaders to drive the right behaviors has never been greater. The good news is: digital leadership is not a total replacement of the fundamental attributes underlying leadership effectiveness. Instead, the 80/20 rule applies. Eighty percent of the competencies that have always made leaders effective remain the same. The other 20 percent is made up of the capabilities and enablers that were not so necessary before, but are critical now for modern and future leaders. These include the ability to unleash talent, daring to lead and being entrepreneurial and possessing the right digital skills and expertise.

Q: What excites you most about the future of ManpowerGroup?

A: What excites me most is ManpowerGroup’s opportunity to contribute to positive societal change while continuing to deliver profits to our shareholders. Our business was founded on this principle and nearly 70 years later, this purpose holds true.

When we succeed everybody wins. We help organizations access skilled talent and help people find meaningful work, upskill and develop successful careers for the long term. For example, In Italy, people from declining industries are learning new skills to become advanced motorsport technicians for Formula One. And in the U.S., ManpowerGroup reskills veterans for good jobs in advanced manufacturing in partnership with Rockwell Automation.

This work is a marathon not a sprint. Enabling all people to develop the skills they need for meaningful and sustainable employment is core to our business and critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. I’m proud of the commitment and dedication of all our teams around the world to help deliver against these ambitious targets every day.