Skilled managers are key to East Africa’s future
East African countries have a large labor pool but it is woefully short in skilled management. This shortage will be expounded as the economies continue to grow and move from an agrarian society to an industrialized region. At the moment, the region is already unable to meet the growing demand for high-quality human capital needed to power the economies.According to a friend of mine working with a leading multinational talent management firm, the shift in East Africa’s economic focus from agriculture to service industries will require a bigger talent pool of middle and top managers. His views are supported by a recent studyconducted by an American research firm on the East African labor market, which noted that the biggest challenge facing the region is closing the gap in middle management.
It projects that by 2025, East African Community countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi will lack between 60 and 80 percent of the middle management required to fill existing positions, while 76 percent of that will be higher-skilled administrative or managerial jobs compared to the 22 percent today.If this gap is not filled, East African Community countries will lose their economic competitiveness and face the prospect of getting mired in the middle-income trap. Unless companies and businesses can find and recruit suitably skilled managers, they will not be able to expand and grow.While there are no quick solutions in filling this talent gap, two issues need to be addressed. The consultant told me that education system and the accessibility of jobs across the five countries.This means that unless the governments in the region revamps their basic education system as well as the institutions of higher learning, businesses will not be able to fill the talent gap.This is an enormously important issue and unless it is addressed immediately, the future of the East African region will be clouded.