Businesses will have to devote more time and money to keeping their highly skilled workers happy, if they are to remain competitive, new research has found.
So-called 'knowledge workers' are demanding higher salaries and privileges than services and manufacturing workers and the gap is set to widen, according to a study by the Management Consultancies Association (MCA).
The report, Globalisation and the Knowledge Society - The New Drivers for Business and Workforce, is the second in a series of reports produced by the MCA that examines how the UK can remain competitive in the next century.
Commenting on the report, Gordon Muller-Eschenbach, a human resources specialist at Roland Berger and Partners, the European management consultancy, said HR would become a vital discipline for large companies.
Knowledge workers were highly mobile and had little company loyalty, so businesses would have to devise long-term strategies to retain their services, Muller-Eschenbach said.
He recommended that companies conduct audits to determine their key knowledge and who it was held by before devising plans to retain them.
"They must anticipate their needs for the future," Muller-Eschenbach said. "They must make a plan to retain people and keep them happy not just with money but other motivating factors."
Continual education and retraining would become an accepted fact of life for knowledge workers and people would need to decide early in their careers whether to jump on the bandwagon or opt for a 'normal' job, he added.
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