Does fast thinking with digitalization really guarantee your life in the future? Our findings may surprise you!
Table of contents
- Field and period of study
- Key findings
- Wrapping up
The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the quality of the labor market across the globe, with effects varying wildly among different sectors, geographies, and demographic groups. Among the several key aspects in which the quality of the labor market has been affected, you might notice the acceleration of remote work, job security and stability, heightened risk, and increased workload without commensurate increases in pay or benefits, shift where the demand for specific skills has rapidly changed, leading to a mismatch and potentially lower job quality for those whose skills are now less in demand, gig economy, etc. Thus, the quality of the labor market post-pandemic will depend on how businesses, workers, and policymakers adapt to these changes.
In search of clarity on these evolving competencies, the German Association for Quality (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Qualität, DGQ) joined forces with HRForecas, a data-driven human resource company, to conduct an instructive study. We’ve focused our efforts on providing its members with instructions and training on “quality management” in various industries and business areas. Below, we’ll consider in more detail what the DGQ and HRForecast study is about.
Field and period of study
The comprehensive analysis analyzed over 47,000 publicly listed job profiles within key industries such as automotive, electrical, healthcare, medical technology, machinery, and plant engineering. The study, which cataloged around 5,000 distinct skills, aimed to identify emerging trends in quality-centric roles. Conducted over four years, from July 2018 to July 2022, the research also evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these trends.
Claudia Welker, the Managing Director of DGQ, emphasized the importance of recognizing these “skills shift” patterns. The findings have been pivotal for DGQ to refine its educational initiatives and advise its member companies effectively, ensuring they remain cutting-edge in quality management practices.
DGQ study shows competency requirements and the development dynamics of job profiles related to quality.
- Growing decentralization of quality management. Quality management is no longer just a central departmental function but is spread across, with over 25,000 job offers analyzed.
- Stagnant digitalization in QM (quality management) despite the pandemic. Contrary to the expectation that the COVID-19 pandemic would accelerate digitalization in all areas, the study didn’t show any sustainable digitalization in quality management.
The “1-10-100 Rule” is a commonly referenced principle in QM, suggesting that it costs $1 to verify a product’s quality, $10 to fix an issue before delivery, and $100 or more if the problem is addressed after it reaches the customer.
- The increased importance of divergent thinking and soft skills. The demand for soft skills such as creativity, open-mindedness, and strategic thinking is increasing. Divergent thinking, which refers to unconventional, experimental problem-solving, is increasingly required in job advertisements.
More on that below.
Verification of existing and future professional skills
DGQ’s commitment to staying abreast of market changes has resulted in continuous improvement of its services based on economic, political, and social changes. Examining roles that focus on quality management and those that include quality-related skills, the study offers a comprehensive understanding of current market demands.
A noticeable trend is the increasing decentralization of quality management, where responsibility for quality is distributed among different organizational functions.
The growing importance of quality expertise is particularly evident in the automotive industry, suggesting that its importance expands beyond the normal realms of quality management. For a more detailed understanding of developments in the automotive sector, we’d recommend you study specific trends and achievements in depth.
Insights in the wake of the pandemic: An unexpected digital stalemate
The study uncovered that the post-pandemic era didn’t bring the anticipated leap in digitalization for quality management roles. This observation is striking, given the general acceleration of digital transformation due to the pandemic.
Despite the recognized need for digital literacy and agile methods, their incorporation into quality management is lagging. It underscores a pressing need for industries to integrate digital skills and innovation more deeply.
Synchronization with new skill requirements
The study identified essential hard skills, such as:
- project management
- quality management expertise
- specific industry knowledge.
Yet, there is a growing need for skills in areas like programming, automated data analysis, and understanding of new standards, including ISO/SAE 21434, which pertains to cybersecurity in the automotive industry. DGQ is actively adapting its programs to meet these emerging requirements.
Regarding soft skills, the research emphasizes the significance of:
- analytical thinking
- customer focus
- strategic thinking.
Creative problem-solving is becoming particularly important, indicating a shift towards innovative thinking in quality management roles.
Trends and requirements in industries
Distinct trends are observed across various sectors:
- The automotive industry, for example, is experiencing an increase in demand for audit and compliance roles linked directly to quality management.
- The electrical industry seeks quality management skills within IT roles.
- The healthcare sector, significantly influenced by the pandemic, is now more focused on roles related to audit and prevention.
- In medical technology, there’s been a doubling in demand for procurement and logistics roles with a quality dimension.
- The machinery and plant engineering sectors also emphasize the need for quality management skills within IT positions.
The widespread emphasis on quality management across industries underscores the universal shift toward ensuring excellence and conformity of products and services, reflecting the critical nature of adapting to specific industry requirements and regulatory environments. Trends indicate that whether it is the strict precision demanded by the automotive industry, technological integration in the electrical and mechanical engineering sectors, or the increased focus on safety and prevention in healthcare and medical technology, quality management has become the focus of developing industry standards and operational efficiency.
Bridging the skills gap: the need for upskilling and reskilling
The study highlights the widening skill gaps driven by rapidly changing skill requirements. It underlines the critical role of upskilling and reskilling as a response, emphasizing the need for targeted corporate training programs to address the decentralized nature of quality management.
With more than 85 million jobs expected to be created by 2025 and 51% of companies using retraining to address skills gaps (Word Economic Forum), continuous learning is vital. Companies that focus on these skills are more competitive and adaptable and have better employee retention, as 70% of employees value companies that invest in their development (Gallup).
Claudia Welker’s emphasis on the study’s ability to predict future skill requirements is pivotal for tailoring DGQ’s offerings to the emergent needs within the quality management sector. These forward-looking insights empower DGQ to refine and expand its services, ensuring they are in lockstep with evolving market demands, delivering enhanced value to its extensive network and training participants.
As we move into a post-pandemic corporate landscape characterized by a surge in remote work, an increased focus on employee well-being, and a higher demand for digital expertise, responding to stakeholder demands for DGQ adaptability and innovation becomes important.
- Are DGQ’s training programs and services keeping pace with the dramatic shifts in the labor market?
- How is DGQ contributing to developing a future-proof workforce that is versatile, digitally literate, and well-equipped to handle the complexities of tomorrow’s quality management challenges?
For those looking to research deeper the latest trends shaping the quality management field and how DGQ is proactively responding to these changes, the HRForecast team is on hand to provide detailed information.
Contact us to witness how DGQ’s strategies unfold in the ever-changing business terrain, ensuring readiness for the future of work and how your company can improve digitalization in quality management.