Based on a survey with a sample group of over 1000 people across varying demographics and industries, the MasterStart South African Workforce Barometer uncovered that – while artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) are on the radar – other factors are currently seen as more immediate factors impacting job retention.
Andrew Johnston, CEO of MasterStart said, “Our workforce is clearly concerned; but positively, our research revealed that people are aware that frequent upskilling and reskilling will aid them in remaining relevant and employable. In a country where unemployment is an ongoing issue, it’s imperative that we empower people to future-proof their careers by making lifelong learning opportunities continuously accessible in order to bridge critical capability gaps and compete with global standards.”
Whilst the Barometer found a workforce in a somewhat sombre mood, positively, people were putting plans in place to learn further to acquire the skills they need. It was good to see that 80% of respondents were planning to study in the future, with self-enrichment being the primary motivator (66%), followed by the aspiration to get further and be promoted (54%) and the desire to keep abreast with industry-related changes (41%). 58% of people favoured online learning, and a number had already completed courses.
Johnston said, “This shows a workforce that’s committed to continuously learning the new hard and soft skills that’ll entrench the adaptability required to survive the breakneck pace of the workplace.”
“Given the competitiveness of the market – which will only increase with the rise of automation – having a sought-after skillset is the best way to guarantee ongoing job retention. This means using learning to get to grips with AI and RPA in order to build efficiencies and one’s overall value-add,” Johnston commented.
He said we also need to consider providing alternate adult education programmes to give young people the best chance of gainful employment, “It’s important we make ongoing online learning materials easily accessible in ‘snackable’, bite-sized pieces to make learning easier.”
Lastly, he believes a lot of learning is up to corporates, “Providing ongoing executive-level education grooms great leaders and provides turn-key or customised solutions to bridge big capability gaps to foster greater efficiency, productivity and profitability. Our research shows that South Africans are hungry to learn – so companies that provide this opportunity will have a greater chance of talent retention, and attraction.”
To find out more, download the MasterStart South African Workforce Barometer report here.