A new report by Microsoft and the International Data Corporation shows that South African companies are struggling to find digital skills in the country.
Microsoft itself is not immune to these challenges, and over the last four to five years it has focused on re-skilling people across its business, it told BusinessTech.
It has also introduced a technical skills initiative that gives every person across the organisation, the opportunity to build and/ or grow their technical skills, it said.
“To match the changing digital landscape, we have prioritised deep cloud; AI and machine learning, big data and security technical skills at Microsoft, and see the opportunity for more security, big data and analytics skills,” it said.
“We know that there are many technical skills that are scarce locally, but see an opportunity for reskilling of current teams, and upskilling young people as the workforce of the future.”
Looking at a national level, Microsoft’s data shows that the biggest skills gap lies in security-related and data protection skills – a reflection of the heightened awareness among businesses about the increasing threat of cyber crime.
While 53% of companies say they already lack this necessary skill set, 59% expect to need more security specialists in just two years’ time.
Following closely behind is the demand for cloud computing skills as indicated by 49% of companies.
This demand for cloud skills is expected to grow significantly over the next two years, with 68% of companies saying they are likely to need more cloud specialists in future, Microsoft said.