Africa’s tech skills scarcity report: Here’s the sharp and painful solution

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Photo: TheDigitalWay/Pixabay

The time to pivot into a future we all need is now, according to findings from an SAP Africa report: Africa’s tech skills scarcity revealed, which highlights needed digital transformation, incoming challenges and the clear direction needed for the necessary tech shift to topple.


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Episode 2 – 2. Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa shares some insight into how to pivot, upskill and accelerate into a tech future we all want. Here’s what she had to say before we picked up that an Aquarian star sign may have secrets to leadership. #SAPAfrica #CathySmith #theeboardmember #tech #scarcity #innovation

♬ See You Again (Piano Arrangement) – Alexandre Pachabezian

The report tables insight on how a deficit in tech skills is impacting Africa’s digital transformation efforts.

Understanding the exact tech skills and capabilities in demand, what organizations are doing to ensure they attracted the scarce talents required to increase the probability of success to a digitally rich 21st century.

The SAP Final report

The report outlays the challenges, and SAP Africa’s Managing Director Cathy Smith shooting straight from the hip in remedying any prolonged challenge said there was an urgent need to invest in skills development and training.

This will ensure Africa can capitalize on its youth dividend.

With the correct investment in skills development, Africa’s economy can transition away from its reliance on natural resources to build the worlds future tech workforce to bring untapped economic as well as social benefit to the continent.

The challenge

The challenge lies in attracting, retaining and upskilling suitable and skilled tech workers.

With research conducted in organizations from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, the results indicate a few issues.

There is a definite tech skills scarcity in Africa.  The lack of skills is having a negative impact on the continents digital transformation efforts.

The four to five organizations reported 41% of employees leaving due to the pressures they experienced as a result of understaffing, while other another 46% reported consequences to be the inability to meet client needs.

More than two thirds of companies are expected to run into some form of tech related skills gap issue this year.

SAP Africa Research Infographic – FINAL (1)


The solution

In a 41% tally, upskilling existing employees seemed as a top priority for 2023, while 40% said they would focus on reskilling employees.

“Companies are also adopting technology tools and flexible work practices to ensure they can attract, retain
and mobilize the correct mix of tech skills,” says Smith and “seven in ten organizations currently use a human
capital management or employee experience tool, while nearly half (45%) of companies were open to
remote work, although most want employees to be in the office at least some of the time.”

A positive sign which will require leaders to co-recreate new models for work.

“Most in-demand skills include cybersecurity and data analytics (63%), developer and industry skills (49%), and digital transformation skills (48%).

More than two-thirds (69%) cited technical skills as an important attribute when recruiting, while 66% said industry-specific skills were important to them.”

The necessary shift

A mental shift in management skills remains essential to successful digital transformation in order to achieve the desired outcome of initiatives.

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Featured image: Photo: TheDigitalWay/Pixabay

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