5 ways employers can address Africa’s widening skills gap

As automation spurs rapid change across the continent, employers are being pushed to reevaluate the way they source, retain and train talent in order to plug Africa’s growing skills shortage.

Faye Tessendorf, Managing Director at Homecoming Revolution, says digitisation presents a unique opportunity for Sub-Saharan African employers.

“While digitisation is anticipated to significantly disrupt the current and future workplace, it is also an opportunity for employers to set themselves apart through the adoption of future-ready talent strategies.”

“Africa is experiencing unprecedented demographic changes. From now until 2030, the continent is projected to expand the size of its workforce by more than the rest of the world combined, according to recent research by the World Economic Forum. This means that previous talent practices are ineffective in this fast-evolving work environment, pushing employers to find different ways to source talent and run their businesses, including developing flexible operating models, organizational structures, and career paths focused on both soft and hard skills.”

  1. Ways of working

A recent report by McKinsey titled The future of work in South Africa: Digitisation, productivity & job creation found that in order to ‘future-proof’ investments in reskilling and hiring, and maximise the productivity of their workforces, employers need to adapt to evolving employee expectations and ways of working. Those include greater focus on meaningful work, flexibility and autonomy, continuous growth and connection.

  1. Adaptability

The McKinsey report said organisations who enthusiastically embrace technology to drive innovation generate much greater revenue and employment growth than firms that simply use technology to improve efficiency.

  1. Reskilling

The report stressed that in their workforce planning, companies need to take a long-term view on how technology will impact on their workforces over the next five. A 2019 PwC survey, echoes these sentiments with 47% of African respondents recognising significant retraining and upskilling as the most significant interventions needed to close skills gaps in their organisations.

  1. Establish a strong pipeline of skills

In the same PwC survey, 22% of CEOs in Africa identified establishing a strong pipeline of skills as an important step.

  1. Build a clear narrative

Another PwC survey titled Workforce of the Future,  found a third of workers are anxious about the future and their job due to automation – an anxiety that kills confidence and the willingness to innovate. How your employees feel affects the business today – so start a mature conversation about the future.

Homecoming Revolution specialises in headhunting and placing scarce skill talent in a host of industries including Fintech, Retail, FMCG and Financial Services. Get in touch (info@homecomingrevolution.com) to speak to one of our headhunters.

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