According to a recent report released by SAP Africa, which is titled ‘Africa’s Tech Skills Scarcity Revealed’, about 80% of Nigerian companies are experiencing a technology skills gap this year due to a brain drain that is being experienced among Nigeria’s huge workforce.
The reports also noted that only 53% of Kenyan organisations are expected to experience a skills gap in 2024 which is lesser compared to the 80% of Nigerian companies and 73% of South African organisations.
The survey carried out on Nigerian companies revealed that the companies suffered a negative impact due to the lack of tech skills, compared to 60% in Kenya and 78% in South Africa. Organisations in Kenya and Nigeria indicated that attracting new skilled recruits was the highest tech skill challenge they faced in 2023.
Cathy Smith, the Managing Director of SAP Africa, said that there is a need for urgent investment in skills development and training to ensure that Africa capitalizes on its increasing youth population.
“More than half of the world’s population growth between now and 2050 will take place in Africa, where 1.3-billion people are expected to be born by mid-century. With the correct investment in skills development, Africa’s economy could transition away from its reliance on natural resources to build the world’s future tech workforce, bringing untold economic and social benefit to the continent and its citizens.” She said
Smith added that the study also revealed that African organisations are still facing difficulties with attracting, retaining, and upskilling suitably skilled tech workers.
The research which was conducted among organisations in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa for the fourth quarter of 2022, disclosed that a lack of vital tech skills is having a negative effect on the continent’s digital transformation efforts. Four in five organisations that were surveyed all reported some negative effects from lack of tech skills, in which 41% of the employees reported leaving due to pressures of understaffing.
While other consequences face by the organisation includes not being able to meet client needs which was reported by 46% of the organisations, reduced capacity for innovation (53 per cent), and losing customers to competitors (60 per cent).
69% of organisations also reporteed that they expect to experience skills gap in the year ahead and according to the data, recruiting skilled new recruits, was the major challenge faced by African organisations, although the retention of skilled employees is better compared to attracting skilled recruits.
Organisation are repsonding to the tech skill challenge by ensuring they employ the ccorect tech skills needed in the orgaisation, 41% reported that upskilling existing employees would be a top priority in 2023, while 40% said they would be reskilling employees.
Cathy Smith also added that Companies are also adopting technology tools and flexible work practices to ensure they can attract, retain and mobilize the correct mix of tech skills,”
She also noted that “Seven in ten organisations currently use a human capital management or employee experience tool, while nearly half (45 per cent) of companies were open to remote work, although most want employees to be in the office at least some of the time. This new workplace dynamic will require leaders to co-create new models for work, with constant collaboration with employees to ensure alignment with company objectives and culture,”.
The study also uncovered that the most in-demand skills by organisations were cybersecurity and data analytics, developer and industry skills, and digital transformation skills. While 69% cited technical skills as an important attribute when recruiting and 66% said industry-specific skills were a top priority for them.