How can organizations in SA bridge the skills gap?

Muhammed Omar, Country Manager, Africa, ServiceNow.

Muhammed Omar, Country Manager, Africa, ServiceNow.

South Africa is facing a talent crisis.

Seventy-eight percent of South African employers report difficulty finding digitally skilled workers, and demand will only increase as experts predict that over 230 million jobs will require digital expertise by 2030.

Couple that with the fact that 89% of South African consumers are demanding more personalized digital experiences, and organizations are facing huge pressure to find a solution, fast.

The good news is that business leaders need only look to their doorstep for the answer – the untapped potential of our youth.

South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis

It comes down to this: our young people are having a hard time finding work. The unemployment rate in South Africa remains consistently high annually, with youth aged 15-24 making up 66.5% of the unemployed.

But young people can, and should, be considered a driving force behind a country’s economy and success on the global stage. They can not only bring a fresh perspective, but also innovative new ideas that can help keep businesses competitive.

The gap between our unemployed youth and the talent crisis is fueled by two things: lack of technical knowledge and access to the right practical tools. This is the perfect storm for economic stagnation.

So how do we get it back?

It’s about connecting young people with the right opportunities.

To make that happen, we need the private sector to step up and work together, not only to benefit young people and set a future-ready workforce, but also to meet evolving consumer needs.

Creates new opportunities

One such collaboration is ServiceNow’s NextGen Programme, which saw its first African intakes this year.

Aiming to address the global digital skills gap, NextGen gives candidates the opportunity to gain hands-on technology experience on the ServiceNow platform.

Participants who graduate from the NextGen Program do so with the in-demand practical skills they need to build lucrative careers within the tech industry.

But the benefits don’t stop with the participants.

South African companies looking to tackle both the challenges of matching the skills gap and responding to consumer demands for innovation are being met with a new talent pool full of candidates with digital skills that needed to get started right away. It’s a win-win.

But I would argue that staying truly competitive requires going one step further – keeping your employees happy by enabling them with the digital tools they need to do their jobs well and prepare them for the future .

Doing so not only attracts and retains skilled workers, but empowers them to focus more on high-value tasks that directly benefit your customers. In fact, businesses that put employees first see a 51% measurement of the impact of employee engagement on customer retention.

Bridging the gap to a better future

There are many challenges facing South African organizations and youth today.

This requires the private sector to take a hard look at what can be done on their side and turn to programs like NextGen to help facilitate a new generation of skilled workers.

It is about creating new opportunities for training and employment for a population that has been marginalized for too long.

Only then can we close the digital skills gap, nurture our youth, and see businesses flourish within South Africa.

To learn more about the ServiceNow NextGen Programme, please click here.

If you are an employer in need of serviceNow trained and job-ready talent, please click here.

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