The report stated that business leaders in the UK will make some major internal changes to their organisations across the next 18 months, especially due to the rise in automation and growing corporate social awareness. These two factors will likely bring in a drastic shift in how organisations approach skills development.

According to Cisco UK and Ireland Chief Scot Gardner, the rise of robotics and automation is an existential issue for several businesses. Nearly 71% respondents to Cisco’s survey said they would make changes to their businesses by the end of this decade due to the growth of new technology. Nearly 78% of respondents claimed that AI and ML will play a huge role in guiding next steps for businesses while 80% felt they would deeply influence critical business decisions in the years to come.

Gardner said that taking a different approach to equipping employees with the skills needed to ride this wave would pay off for those prepared to take the leap

On the other hand, corporate social responsibility (CSR) was known to reveal a massive gap in what was deemed important to accomplish by businesses and what leaders actually planned to do. Nearly 69% stated that this it was important distinction to make but only 15% saw it as a priority, despite the fact that customers were more inclined to use services and products that were propagated by responsible businesses. Nearly 84% of those interviewed for the report said they did not consider ethical implications to be a substantial barrier to business transformation.

Cisco is trying to influence customers by being vocal about CSR through charity initiatives. In 2018, Cisco has been raising money for and contributing services to the Trussell Trust – a nationwide network of food banks. Cisco has also been running internal programmes encouraging healthy eating, exercise and initiatives to address mental health issues at the workplace.