Have talent, will work – for a company in Africa.
In comes the newest strategy punctuating talent wars – identifying and attracting the best talent. A key challenge for companies, finds Deloitte’s 2022 The Africa CEO Forum; Shaping The Future Of Africa. The gap between what is in the market and the kind of skills higher learning needs to present to the workplace is askew. It means for a company to soar, they need to invest in training and partnership.
Improvement that can only be done through constant professional learning all throughout one’s career. “Creation of in-house universities and partnership with training experts help companies maintain their attractiveness and competitiveness in their markets.” said the report. Companies that invest in human capital and promote from within also tend to be stronger brands especially when it comes to hiring for top and middle management positions.
At its core, the report found African CEOs to be rather unexpectedly resilient in spite of the pandemic. Buoyed by confidence in the continent’s “economic outlook,” CEOs, albeit cautious and prudent, feel better prepared for “future crises.” The second quarter of 2021 is particularly noteworthy as a rebound period. The Ukrainian war also prompted CEOs to report supply chain tensions as is doing business in what the report identifies as a “very volatile context.”
Confidence, though critical, is one thing; finding talent for CEOs is still hard-won.
In his Financial Time Op-Ed piece, Schools Must Lay The Foundations To Bridge Africa’s Skills Gap” where he advocated for governments and businesses working together, Aliko Dangote, CEO, Dangote Group, recognised the lack of skills as a major hurdle, adding that by 2030, a quarter of the world’s population under 25 will be African. “…the economic prospects not only in Africa but of the world depend on skills, capabilities, and productivity of our youth.” Dangote Group believes in upskilling and transforming the education sector from childhood because, by adulthood, it is too late. And in their 2019 survey, PwC cited the human capital problem. 95 per cent of African CEOs identified this lack of skills as affecting their organisations growth and profitability.
The World Bank’s 16th edition of Africa’s Pulse back in 2017 observed the very same crisis. “As Sub-Saharan Africa seeks to boost innovation, adopt new technologies, and disrupt ‘business as usual’ practices, it will be critical that African governments continue to tackle the skills gap that spans all demographics.”
The advocacy for upskilling youth also points towards diversity and inclusion, which takes us to women in leadership. CEOs are aspiring to attract and retain more female talent through equal pay, diversity in their hiring process, and initiatives to boost the numbers in top management. “There is still a gap to be bridged in terms of diversity and empowerment of women up to board level in order to fully align with the new world of work, but innovative and inclusive approaches are emerging.,” the report notes.
In her Op-Ed piece, Catherine Muraga, Managing Director, Africa Development Centre, Kenya reiterated this. “Despite the fact that they are not new, issues such as education, recruitment and hiring, retention, pay, and promotion continue to have a significant impact on women’s representation in tech companies, and their resolution is painfully slow.”
The report did not disclose any innovative initiatives, however. It did take a look at the top three reasons on how organisations can attract and retain female talent. A large number of CEOs (54 per cent), believed their culture would help their organisations attain this. But. Talent identification and attraction is “still a critical issue for African companies (21 per cent), the question remains about other potential areas for improvement like salary scale and internal mobility to really match talent retention targets.”