PwC Report: Hiring specialized talent key to managing risks of emerging tech


A new report by PwC Canada has found that while 85 percent of Canadian organizations are investing in emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, and IoT, few of them are managing the risks that come with these technologies.

The report, titled “Risk in Review 2018,” examines how organizations can manage innovation-related risks around organizational culture, technology, and talent. It addresses how leaders are responding to risks and how they can turn to risks such as cybersecurity threats or lack of talent into opportunities.

The report finds that among organizations looking to implement new technologies to improve their products or customer service over the next three years, 83 percent predict that cybersecurity or privacy threats will increase.

When asked how they are adopting their risk management strategies, 47 percent of Canadian organizations surveyed said they are adding new skills, 40 percent said they are rethinking risk appetites and thresholds, and 32 percent said they are using new technology for real-time information.

“Risk executives must effectively manage and develop talent and technology, and at the same time, not let risk hinder the success of innovation.”

“The focus on and investment in new technologies among Canadian organizations is at a high but so too is the risk of cybersecurity and privacy attacks,” said Jennifer Johnson, national leader of risk assurance services, PwC Canada. “Risk executives must effectively manage and develop talent and technology, and at the same time, not let risk hinder the success of innovation. It will be key for Executives to manage and develop their talent and technology in the digital world with a new level of risk awareness, while not letting risk management become a hindrance to the success of innovation.”

According to PwC Canada, managing talent is an important step in managing risk. The report suggests that it is becoming harder to attract and retain talent, and as a result, 46 percent of Canadian organizations said that a lack of properly skilled teams prevents them from benefitting from digital innovation. The report also finds that 72 percent of Canadian CEOs are concerned about the availability of digital skills in their industries, and 67 percent of those skills are lacking in their senior leadership teams.

To help manage technology-related risks over the next three years, the report finds that more than half of Canadian organizations want to increase their data analytics (68 percent) and cybersecurity and privacy (54 percent) skills.

“Digital workforce transformation requires new knowledge, new skills, and an entirely new mindset, which can be daunting,” the report reads. “Adding knowledgeable, curious action-oriented and tech-savvy recruits is critical if an organization is to keep pace with risks from technology-driven innovation.”

“Digital workforce transformation requires new knowledge, new skills, and an entirely new mindset.”

When it comes to which technologies will have the most significant impact on organizations, the report finds that 52 percent of Canadian organizations cite big data, and 47 percent cite the cloud as technologies that will have a major impact on their businesses in the next three years. The report also indicates that survey respondents cite regulation, compliance, human capital, and operational risks as the most critical risks arising from emerging technologies.

Overall, the report indicates that organizations need to revisit security models to balance risks and opportunities so that they can stay ahead in an increasingly technology-driven world. The report suggests that organizations should hire skilled workers and manage risks in a way that is beneficial to their work processes.

“The solution is not to just hire more specialists. Rather, digital and data proficiency have to increase across the organization at all levels,” said Johnson. “Leaders must work with their teams to help them develop the necessary skills and proficiencies to effectively manage and minimize risk in the digital world.”

View the full report here.

Photo via Unsplash.

Disclosure: BetaKit is a media partner of PwC initiatives, including the MoneyTree report.

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.