Skills Gap Shortage: These are the skills needed for jobs of the future in South Africa

Skills Gap Shortage: These are the skills needed for jobs of the future in South Africa
Skills Gap Shortage. Image source: Pixabay

According to the recently released Global Skills Report of 2024 by Coursera, there is “a pressing need to develop a skilled domestic workforce” in South Africa. In the report, South Africa ranked 100 out of the 109 countries that were assessed in terms of skills availability; meaning that we lack most skills required for jobs of the future.

The top in-demand skills identified by Coursera feed into roles that are essential for South Africa’s economic growth and competitiveness. Efforts to bolster these areas not only enhance workforce readiness but also strengthen the country’s position in the global economy, fostering inclusive and sustainable growth.

 

South Africa’s youth need the following skills to equip themselves for jobs of the future:

 

1. Risk Management
2. Supply Chain Systems
3. Brand Management
4. Market Research
5. Spreadsheet Software
6. Change Management
7. Operations Management
8. Influencing
9. FinTech
10. Business Communication

 

The lack of relevant skills means that many young South Africans are not prepared for the demands of the labour market, leading to a high youth unemployment rate. Employers often report difficulties in finding candidates with the right mix of skills, even for entry-level positions. The listed top skills will increase the youth’s chances of excelling in IT Project Manager, Project Manager, Personal Financial Advisor and Business Analyst roles.

To effectively address the skills gap and improve employability among South African youth, a comprehensive approach involving various stakeholders and strategies is essential.

Dr Truida Oosthuizen, Head of School for Administration and Management at JSE-listed higher education provider STADIO says that young people’s skill sets must be enhanced through well-designed educational programmes.

“Universities and other higher education institutions (HEIs) are critical partners in addressing the national need for skills development,” she says.

HEIs should diversify their product offerings by implementing flexible learning options, such as part-time courses, online programmes and micro-credentials to accommodate diverse students’ needs.

“STADIO’s broad suite of programmes are designed to address those skills needed for jobs of the future. These include Education, Business skills, IT skills and Engineering, and are offered through flexible distance and online learning options to provide inclusive access to education.

Furthermore, different types of entry points have been created for students; from custom short learning programmes and micro-credentials, all the way through to a Higher Certificate and postgraduate level,” says Oosthuizen.

Industry and business collaborations

Industry collaboration can be encouraged by professional bodies working with HEIs to expand apprenticeship programmes and vocational training opportunities. “Businesses should be encouraged to create learnership programmes combining work experience and structured learning. Additionally, by engaging with Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), sector-specific training programmes can be developed to address skills shortages in key industries,” says Oosthuizen.

STADIO has partnerships and agreements with professional bodies and employer groups to ensure that its programmes are endorsed by the relevant bodies and produce graduates who are equipped for the world of work. These include The Ethics Institute, The Disaster Management Institute of SA and the SA Board for People Practices, Project Management SA and the South African Marketing Association.

Online education

Promoting online education is another critical component. However, the challenge of limited online access prevents many young people from enrolling in free or low-cost online courses. Developing local online education platforms tailored to the needs of South African youth and industries should be a priority.

Offering skills development programmes through community education initiatives will also encourage continuous skills development and lifelong learning.

By co-ordinating these efforts across government, educational institutions, SETAs, industries and communities, South Africa can create a robust system that equips young people with workforce skills that drives economic growth.