The South African labour market faces the challenge of having a large demand for highly skilled individuals, while the skills that many unemployed individuals cannot meet this demand. Employers continue to have difficulty with filling positions. For instance, many students who are currently enrolled in South African tertiary institutions are studying subjects that do not support the need in business for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) as well as future-oriented skills.
Further challenges for skills development and employment prospects include the high instance of poverty and poor levels of education.
A lack of technical competencies has also been cited by employers who are feeling the brunt of skills shortages in South Africa.
What can be done to address skills shortages in South Africa?
Provision of additional training and development to existing staff
Organisations should focus on training their workforce. This is a viable way of reinvesting into the organisation, while also ensuring the development of individuals. Organisations should be willing to invest in the improvement of skills which will in turn benefit the organisation in the long run too.
Take a risk
Some companies are willing to appoint people who do not currently have the necessary skills, but have the potential to learn and grow. This is a risk in many ways, but it may pay off for a company to give an opportunity to an individual who can grow within company structures. By training such individuals, companies may even have the benefit of instilling tailored skills for the job at hand.
Learnerships are the future
By encouraging workers to take part in learnerships, they allow entry-level workers into the labour field to acquire new skills. Leranerships can increase skilled labour and they allow for the utilisation of skills development in the workforce.
What is evident is that education and training are key factors in regulating the skills shortage dilemma and it’s up to government institutions and the private sector to ensure that these factors are the driving force behind addressing skills shortages in South Africa.