BCG executive on skill training in South Africa

17 December 2019 Consultancy.co.za

South Africans are heavily engaged in developing skills of the future, primarily because most are concerned about the impact of technology on the country’s workforce. This is according to Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) South Africa Jan Gildemeister.

Gildemeister’s comments refer to a new BCG study that shows concern amongst South Africans about the growing skill gap. Unemployment levels in the country are already amongst the highest in the world, and experts have long warned of the adverse effects that technology could have on this scenario.

The call amongst many, including management consultancy Accenture, has been to accelerate skill-training efforts across the country to ensure that the workforce is equipped with the skills to work in a technologically charged business environment. BCG research shows that many are working towards this scenario,

Jan Gildemeister, Managing Director - BCG

The firm found that more than 50% of South Africa’s population believes that it will be directly impacted by technology in the near future, and preparations are underway. A PwC report from earlier this year revealed that as many as 90% of the South African workforce was currently engaged in skill development efforts of some kind.

BCG’s findings are similar. The firm found that South Africans spend a considerably larger amount of time on skill development than their global counterparts. BCG also reports that as many as 77% of South Africans are willing to reskill in line with industry demands, which is considerably higher than the global average of 67%.

Most prefer training on the job, followed by a singnificant number who prefer self study, while less than half would opt for traditional educational institutions. A number of advisory firms in South Africa have been engaged in skill training efforts as well, looking to help accelerate the process.

Commenting on the scenario, Gildemeister said, “South Africa has a largely youthful population, constituting about one third of the country’s people, and these youth are well aware of the need to upskill and reskill themselves to remain relevant in an ever-changing workplace characterised by rapid technological advancements and anytime, anywhere, any device connectivity.”


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