Dr Nigel Spencer

Dr Nigel Spencer

Senior Client Director

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Humanity & Technology – Four Perspectives: Re-imaging talent development strategies for an automated world

Session Overview

As the professions face increasing levels of disruption, with ever greater use of AI and automation to drive efficiency, there is much debate on the impact of these changes on talent strategies.  Specifically, as firms evolve their businesses to utilise these new tools, will junior roles disappear? Do career paths become less linear, or more plural?  And how, given this context, do CHROs and Chief Learning Officers work with their Boards to continue to attract, retain and develop a generation with fundamentally different career aspirations?

If the future is an increasing commoditisation of knowledge, then the future differentiator for firms, which are fundamentally people businesses, becomes the development of skill: human and relational skills, and a breadth of skill-set which has hitherto been under-considered at Board level. Research at Said Business School suggests that the ‘Poly-technic’ (or ‘Many-skilled’) professional is the professional of the future, and this session provides ideas of how talent models can evolve to create the agile and ‘many-skilled’ individuals who will be a business’s differentiators in an automated world.

Speaker's biography

Following an early career as an academic exploring cultural change and group dynamics, Nigel worked in Professional Services Firms for 20 years, initially in a client-facing role at PricewaterhouseCoopers and, for 13 years, in talent development roles at two international law firms, before moving to Saïd Business School in 2017. 

In these law firms Nigel was Global Director of Learning and Development and was responsible for designing and implementing firm-wide talent development strategies.

Nigel also led organisational development initiatives as law firms responded to the disruption in their industry. These included creating the first ‘Innovation Hub’ in a global law firm as a client-facing collaboration space, helping the firm to evolve its future service delivery and working with the legal tech community to drive this initiative. 

More broadly, Nigel co-chaired the UK’s national body of Legal Education professionals (the Legal Education Training Group) for a number of years and now sits on its Advisory Panel. As Chair, he worked with international Business Schools to conduct research into coaching, leadership development and strategy. Nigel also held Board roles at Higher Education Research Institutes and at the ACCA, and is a Visiting (Industry) Professor at the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London. At Oxford Nigel has developed a White Paper series of ‘Practitioner Insights’ on how strategic talent programmes can create competitive advantage, and is a member of Oxford University’s Saïd Business School Coaching Community, coaching on the Saïd Business School’s MBA and executive development programmes.