Which is more important – technology or talent?
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Leaders today are grappling with just how important talent and technology are to their organizations’ success.  So, which is more important?  From my view, it is talent.  Every place I visit and everyone I turn to is desperately seeking key talent.  However, many employers are searching for talent to only find shortages.  Our member companies could hire hundreds of workers tomorrow with the right skills.  They are just not available.  It has become our region’s – and the country’s – number one challenge.

There is a lot of talk today about robots replacing people.  People are concerned that their jobs will no longer be available and that a robot will take their livelihood from them.  Technology is critical for business success, but it will not result in robots taking all of our jobs.  However, it will result in our jobs continuously changing. From what I have seen, as technology becomes more sophisticated, talent becomes even more important to both business and personal success.  It will take talented people to lead and work in successful enterprises.  We see that future – today.

As I am prone to say, the future is here but it is just not widely distributed.  Just last week, I walked through the most automated flatware plant in the world – in Sherrill New York.  Its use of technology exceeds any manufacturer in the world.  Do you know what they talked about most and saw as their biggest challenge?  How to find, and replace when they retire, their talented and skilled workers! At Sherrill Manufacturing, they can compete with anybody in the world – with the right talent – and so can your company.

On a personal level, it has never been more important to develop your key skill sets so you can thrive in today’s economy.  We all must stay aware of the higher-order skills that allow us to add value to endeavors. We must actively seek skill upgrades and learning opportunities.  We must become better coworkers and be effective at changing our behaviors. In doing so, we will guarantee our success in a world rapidly developing new technology – and desperately in need of skilled talent to successfully use the technology.

Each leader will need to assist their team in gaining additional skills as they continue to invest in technology.  Here at MACNY, we are interested in helping organizations develop existing staff by securing new skills through programs such as our unique Apprenticeship Program (to learn more about our Apprenticeship Program, click here or contact Martha Ponge at [email protected]).

So, what is more important, technology or talent?  From my vantage point, talent wins hands-down!