Tag Archives: IT jobs in Africa

Africa IT firms need to prepare for workforce of the future

African continent is the future for growth for companies that want to expand their business and improve their revenues. However, the working environments will need to change if employers in African continent want to attract highly talented and skilled ICT industry expats. In more than six countries where I have contacts, I have found out that many employers are unable to retain ICT talents in their Organizations and most IT firms in sub Saharan Africa are grappling with that problem.In Zambia for example, an IT manager working with a multi national company showed me figures through an email how there is mismatch in demand and supply for such skilled employees. In southern African countries there is a high attrition rate among fresh graduates and in Eastern Africa countries like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania many of the employers I have come across are too casual about bettering their staff through training.Statistics shows that the ICT industry in Africa will need more than 25,000 new talents to meet current demands for such skills in the continent.

Africa also need an IT savvy workforce and according to various reports by African union and regional organizations like EAC,SADC and ECOWAS, Africa will need an additional eight million workers by 2025.One thing that I have learned by being in various African countries is that there is a gap in the expectations of employees and employers alike. Most IT firms in employees support technologies and trends that promote a good work-life balance but unfortunately many employers in Africa are hesitant to comply and that trend is identical in both private and public organisations. Africa lacks enough of the new work-environments, where employees are allowed to bring their own devices although it is now gaining popularity in the continent. Working from home in Africa is also at its infancy stage and now most companies allow their staff to engage each other in social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter while at work or meetings.Also, many employers in Africa are disquiet with the mobile work life because they can’t be sure whether their workers are being productive.

IT vendors should look for solutions in setting up high-tech working environments despite the fact that employers are far behind in the adoption of these systems. Africa needs to be ready now for the workforce of the future where employers and employees consider improving their skills through programmes to hone their talents.The continent should also appreciate the fact that technology is advancing very fast. When I first started working 12 years go in Collins street, Melbourne everything I learnt in university was already less relevant and it is the same happen for the current graduates. To improve skills is important for employees to stay ahead and this will also help African employers be ready for the needs of the new workforce and move the continent forward into a knowledge based economy.

South African firm talk up IT career

This afternoon, I received a call from a South African firm that wanted to seek my services in a multi million rand project.When I asked why they called me despite the fact that even on my website its clear am committed to work exclusively for Somocon Oy,the chief information officer highlighted to me recent spate of multi-million rand IT projects they have been handling and how they are trying to attract more young workers to technology careers in their firm. Unfortunately for him, am at Somocon Oy for the long haul and have no intention whatsoever of seeking a programming and tech business career elsewhere. The CIO pointed to me his firm’s five-year, R2 billion program which included three-year, R400 million IT projects.According to him,at their peak, each of those IT projects called for “high hundreds” of staff and after a former workmate during my working days in Australia joined them,they thought my addition would be ideal but my focus at the moment lie elsewhere. The firm also plans to provide IT support and work on the SIPs program.The call brought me to some thinking line about inadequate qualified IT staff in African continent and when someone talk about a five-year project worth R2 billion, that translates into a heck of a lot of people and frankly there just aren’t enough people in South African and greater sub Saharan Africa to meet that demand.

Just like the firm, it is clear that other major organizations have similar programs of investment but their ambitions are always shattered by lack of skilled IT staff in technology projects that span enterprise resource planning systems, robotics which happens to be my favorite, digital marketing and developing self service applications for customers.What I feel companies should do in Africa is to work with a number of software companies and depending on the needs, a collection of smaller web developers and outsource to them their work until situation of skilled staff stabilises. However,in terms of steering core systems development and platform, I suggest they do it internally.They should also tap into global supply chains due to a shortage of skilled IT workers on shore and I know the reason organizations tended to offshore technology jobs in Sub Saharan Africa is because of a local skills shortage, rather than because labour was cheaper overseas.In countries like Philippines and India, salaries are growing much more quickly than in entire African continent although I believe at some point in future they will reach parity.Over the last five years, the number of enrolments in technology-related university courses has actually halved in South Africa, while the demand for work has more than doubled.Looking forward, firms like the one that contacted me will be staring into a more significant skills shortage and that has already manifested itself in the South African marketplace.