In a research extensively conducted in Africa on the impact on employment of advances in technologies between January to August 2016 covering 30 countries points to a possible scenario where half of the existing jobs could be wiped out in the next eight years.Industries that will be most affected will see 3D Printing, automation, robotics and artificial intelligence take over. The findings reveals that technology will displace types of work but current trend shows advances are not going to be net creators of jobs in Africa, that entirely new types of work will require uniquely human capabilities and technology will redefine Africans relationship to work going forward.Few if at all any African country have the capacity to shape the future through their choices and most will be shaped by it.Some of the detrimental impacts African countries have seen so far is in blue collar industries which will soon knock on the doors of white collar workers. While highly skilled workers will succeed, more Africans will be displaced into low-skilled service industry jobs or lose them entirely. In other words, those good developments won’t reach everyone without active policy to make it so.If Africa want to build productivity, build a society that is dynamic, creative and able to adapt to new advances, then African countries need broader and deeper pools of human capital.
In light of the technological needs of the future, there’s never been a greater need to widen both access and participation in higher education.Recently, I had a convo with a blud who expressed concerns that job losses arising from technological development will dampen economic growth in Sub Saharan Africa going forward.In my response, I tried to downplay such fears, emphasising that technological advance not only helps create more jobs, it also makes it easier for unemployed workers to get re-educated. I know African countries need to create more new jobs to offset reduced employment. I must admit that while technology has brought about the need to create jobs, African countries cannot avoid the fact that technology is also destroying jobs. Africans have to ensure that the pace of creating new jobs should be faster than that of reducing jobs, and good examples are Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria where more than half of the existing jobs will be gone in less than eight years from now.Am one of those who believe that technology can transform Africans lives and am very optimistic about the future.Undoubtedly, unemployment is unlikely to continue deteriorating because there is an explosion of needs in the caring sector. Many Africans who have lost their jobs to technologies will be needed to care for the continent’s growing population. The employment landscape is changing rapidly in Africa just like other parts of the world. The advise I can give those who live in Africa is that ensure you don’t get technically lost in the shift.
Gone are the days when it was common to run into blokes who had been employed by the same company for decades or even their entire working life. The era where careers were all about stability, tenure and a steady climb up the salary ladder are in the annals of history. The facts is that focus has moved to work and life balance, job satisfaction and higher labour force mobility. I can’t imagine anyone who can put even 10 loyal years in at one company and receiving a handshake and a gift. That will never happen again and Africans have to adapt to that. More than half of my friends in African workforce have been at their current job less than three years. To find an African who has been in the same job for more than five years is highly unlikely. Unlike those management, African women are known to be more likely to swap jobs than men and sales workers are the most mobile employees of all which helps explains why African business that are reliant on old business models are dying faster than expected. It is however well known what it takes an African woman to get and retain a job.One of the most popular career changes in Africa at the moment is the move into self-employment as a small business owner, and this trend is growing in African economies at an impressive rate.Everything in life including technological developments happens for a reason and that reason has less to do with fate than the choices we make about our jobs, financial futures, and the determination with which we pursue our goals.That however doesn’t change the fact that more than of currents jobs in Africa will be gone in eight years from now.