South African executives are preparing to skill their employees for new roles: study

Mercer Consulting has released its Global Talent Trends Study for 2018.

This year’s study gathered input from 800 business executives, 1,800 HR professionals, and 5,000+ employees from 21 industries and 44 countries around the world.

One of the key focuses of this year’s study was the ability of companies to change quickly to adapt to new market conditions.

When placing a lens of focus on the continent, it is clear that there are some countries that are embracing the disruption wave better than others, said Nicol Mullins, ‎principal consultant at ‎Mercer Consulting South Africa.

“For example, Ethiopia has seen massive growth over the last twenty-five years since they opened up their borders, allowing for increased investment opportunities.

“As the second most populous country in Africa, foreign direct investors have recognised the great potential that lies within the consumer market, along with the lower labour costs within the country. Rwanda is another example, with significant investments in technology and a transition towards smarter cities,” he said.

Mullins said that the commonality between these countries according to the report is the speed at which businesses are adopting change.

The report found that 96% of South African companies are planning an organisation redesign in the next two years, while 46% of HR executives are confident in re-skilling current employees for new roles.

Despite this, just 12% of South African executives said that their companies were ‘change agile’.

New jobs

The ability to change is however not just a local concern, with 53% of executives believing that at least one in five roles in their organisation will cease to exist in the next five years.

However, only 40% are increasing access to online learning courses, and only 26% are actively rotating workers within their business.

“As a solution, African countries could look at the potential that lies within other revenue driving industries,” Mullins said.

“For example, previously war-torn Liberia could open up more to tourism opportunities.  Dubai achieved this by moving away as primarily an oil market towards a tourism market.

“A heightened focus will need to be paid towards innovation and skills development. The concept of ‘managing a pipeline of talent’ is wearing thin; a platform approach offers an aspirational alternative by creating skill demand that aligns with where the business wants to be in the future.”


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South African executives are preparing to skill their employees for new roles: study