Many South African businesses aren’t able to access the ICT skills they need to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). This is according to the South African ICT Skills Survey, which was released in September last year and was carried out by the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University, in partnership with the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA).
These research findings are based on an online survey conducted among employers and employees at South African organisations across various industries. According to the report, the technology skills associated with innovative solutions like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, blockchain, automation, data science and programming are the most in demand.
The business case for reskilling
With the distance economy in full swing around the globe thanks to the coronavirus, there is a real need for the existing workforce to adapt and upskill themselves so that they have the expertise required to make an impact in this new era of digitalisation.
For business leaders, the situation demands that they empower their employees so that they are better equipped to handle any disruptions that may occur in the future.
It all starts with identifying where potential gaps exist and then signing up for, and implementing, the right training courses and programmes to fill these gaps. Luckily, training is more accessible and affordable than ever before. If businesses identify their technology skills gaps early, they can fill address these shortcomings before they become an issue. And for the long term.
This is especially true during times of crisis. According to McKinsey, if you launched a reskilling initiative in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and plan to simply revert back to “normal” after the crisis passes, you’re missing the point. It’s critical to build on your learnings so that you have a clear understanding what works and what doesn’t work. And so that you’re in a position to apply these lessons should disruptive events happen in the future.
For example, when an international bank realised that their regular face-to-face sales model would need to change thanks to social distancing, they realised that virtual selling could give them a competitive advantage if they executed this approach effectively. So they adapted and upskilled their teams so that they now have a healthy mix of face-to-face expertise and virtual work experience.
If you found this article interesting, we regularly publish blogs about all things digital, innovation and business strategy on the Nebula blog. You can easily access these insights by signing up for our monthly newsletter. Subscribe below.