Digital transformation is key for creating jobs in South Africa

21 January 2020 2 min. read
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Despite the present damp outlook on South Africa’s economy, businesses in the country that have undergone digital transformations appear to be displaying signs of growth. This is according to Tanja Lategan, Chief Executive of digital transformation consultancy Enlight Strategic. 

The outlook is bleak for South Africa at present, most recently exemplified by market research and consultancy Intellidex’s decision to cut back on its GDP predictions for the country in the near future. This was just the tip of the iceberg, however, with several other factors holding the economy back.

poor Moody’s rating late last year was the product of poor business conditions in the country, accentuated by high levels of financial crime and rampant unemployment. Nevertheless, the situation is not all bad, with many businesses trudging ahead and paving the way forward for the economy.

According to Tanja Lategan, these are primarily businesses and sectors that have taken the leap and invested in digital transformation. Lategan herself is the CEO of a newly established digital transformation consultancy Enlight Strategic, which has gradually grown in profile across South Africa.

Digital transformation is key for creating jobs in South Africa

Lategan speaks in the context of the latest Manpower Group Employment Outlook Survey, which found that the sectors where most jobs are emerging include finance, insurance, real estate and business services. For her, it is no coincidence that these appear to be the most digitally integrated sectors.

“These are all industries that have faced massive digital disruption over the past decade. That they’ve come through that period and are experiencing job growth is an encouraging sign. It shows that, far from destroying industries, technology can aid in their overall growth resulting in increased job opportunities,” said Lategan.

“By embracing digital transformation, organisations can improve their overall efficiency, thereby reducing costs and creating a buffer against some of the worst external economic factors. Whatever issues a specific industry faces, the companies that will be most resilient are those which adapt to the changing world and embrace the opportunities offered by technology to better utilise and support their employees,” she added.

The emergence of new jobs in digitally transformed sectors is consistent with predictions for the South African economy. Global management consultancy Accenture released research last year that suggested the emergence of new jobs that would require working in collaboration with technology.