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Firms may experience IT Skills Shortage

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By Usman Oladimeji

80 percent of Nigerian firms would face a skills deficit in the next year.

According to a recent survey by SAP Africa, a software solutions provider, over 80 percent of Nigerian businesses would face a shortage of technological expertise. This is attributable to the high rate of Brain Drain experienced in the country as experts are leaving the country in pursuit of greener pastures in developed nations. The report, dubbed “Africa’s Tech Skills Scarcity Revealed,” outlined the various obstacles and prospects encountered by African organizations in their pursuit of increased access to technological expertise.

The survey found that although 80 percent of Nigerian firms and 73 percent of South African companies anticipate a skills deficit in the next year, just 53 percent of Kenyan companies share this sentiment. Nigerian organizations who took part in the research said that a lack of technological skills had had a significant effect on their operations. However, organizations in Kenya and Nigeria are concentrating more on acquiring newly trained experts and labelling it their top Technology skills challenge for 2023.

More than half of organizations felt the effects of understaffing.

Speaking on the situation, Cathy Smith, managing director of SAP Africa, stressed the crucial need to invest in skills development and training, in order for Africa to thrive on its massive youth population. It is worth noting that Africa is projected to account for more than half of the global population growth between now and 2050, with 1.3 billion people expected to be added by mid-century. Smith claimed that Africa’s Economy could become less reliant on natural resources if substantial investments were made in training and Education for the continent’s people.

This, he said, will have far-reaching positive effects on the continent’s economy and society. The research conducted in the fourth quarter of 2022 among organizations in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa shows that African organizations still struggle to recruit, retain, and upskill appropriately competent technology professionals. Based on the findings of the survey, the continent’s attempts at digital transformation are hampered by a shortage of skills. More than half of organizations said they’d felt the effects of understaffing owing to a lack of technical knowledge, and 41 percent said that workers had left as a consequence of the stress they experienced.

Companies are increasingly embracing remote work.

Additional ramifications of talent scarcity include being unable to satisfy client demands (reported by 46%), having a lower capacity for Innovation (53%), and losing clients to competition (60%). In 2023, nearly all organizations will encounter some difficulty due to a lack of technical capabilities. Sixty-nine organizations surveyed also anticipated a skills gap in the next year. The main skills hurdle for African organizations, according to the research, is obtaining qualified new recruits. However, in South Africa, retention of competent personnel just squeezed out luring expertise as the primary concern.

In light of the current IT skills shortage, companies are taking drastic measures to guarantee they have enough access to skilled workers. In 2023, 41 percent of employers listed upskilling in their workforce as a high priority, with 40 percent saying the same regarding reskilling. To guarantee they have the ability to recruit, retain, and deploy the best possible team of computer experts, companies are increasingly embracing remote work and other forms of flexible scheduling. Over fifty percent of organizations are open to remote work. Whereas the vast majority would like their workers to be physically present in the workplace at least a portion of the time.

Cybersecurity and data analytics are the most sought-after skills.

Furthermore, Smith said the new working environment would require managers to co-create new work models in continual cooperation with workers to guarantee alignment with business aims and Culture. Cybersecurity and data analytics were determined to be the most sought-after skills, representing 63 percent, followed by developer and industry expertise at 49 percent, and lastly, digital transformation abilities at 48 percent. While 66 percent of the organization indicated that industry-specific abilities were vital, 69 percent said technical skills were important to consider for hiring.


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