Reskilling a Priority to Prepare Workers for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Reskilling a Priority to Prepare Workers for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Written by Lameez Omarjee for Fin24

A significant amount of reskilling and upskilling is necessary to prepare the workforce for future jobs created by the fourth industrial revolution, according to a report.

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Future of Jobs 2018 report released earlier this week, unpacks the potential of new technologies to disrupt and create jobs and what should be done to prepare the workforce for new roles. The findings are based on a survey of chief human resources officers and strategy executives from companies across 12 industries and 20 developed and emerging economies.

According to the research, more than half of all workplace tasks will be performed by machines and algorithms as opposed to 29% currently. However, the evolution of machines in the workplace could create 133 million new roles, compared to the 75 million jobs that will be displaced between 2018 and 2022.

 “While we expect net positive job growth, there will be a significant shift in the quality, location, format and permanency of new roles,” the report read.

Although disruption such as automation will have an impact on the nature of work – the quality, location, format and whether roles are permanent or not – it also presents opportunities and demand for new roles. These roles include data analysts and scientists, software and application developers, e-commerce and social media specialists.

There is also expected to be increasing demand for roles which require human skills – such as sales and marketing professions, innovation managers and customer service workers, according to the report. However, roles which could become redundant include “routine-based white-collar roles” such as accounting and pay-roll clerks.

As for the displacement of jobs, surveyed companies indicate job losses in mining and metals, consumer and information technologies industries is projected to be higher than companies in “professional services”, while job demand will be created in other industries.

Businesses are likely to increase the use of contracted workers doing task-specialised work, more flexible work arrangements to be introduced, increasing use of remote staff, and increasing access to talent by shifting the location from which the organisation operates.

In turn workers will require new sets of skills to keep up with changes. Saadia Zahidi, head of the centre for the new economy and society at WEF noted that companies need to invest in human capital to remain competitive in an age of machines”.

“There is both a moral and economic imperative to do so. Without proactive approaches, businesses and workers may lose out on the economic potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Zahidi.

But the survey showed that over half of the companies plan to reskill only those in key roles, while only a third plan to reskill at-risk workers.

Even though all industries are expected to have skills gaps, the aviation and travel and tourism will have the highest reskilling needs between 2018 and 2022.

“Skills gaps are also a particular concern in the information and communication technology, financial services and investors, and mining and metals industries,” the report read. Global health and healthcare, chemistry, advanced materials and biotechnology sectors are most likely to retrain their workers. 

The demand for roles will also vary across regions – for example in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa there will be demand for assembly and factory workers. While in East Asia and the pacific and Western Europe there will be demand for financial and investment advisors.

The WEF highlighted the role of government in addressing the impact of new technology on labour markets. This past week stakeholders in government, business and organised labour came together for the Presidential Job Summit in an effort to address the challenges to job creation.Business and government plan to create 275 000 jobs every year for the next five years. Among the solutions proposed includes a focus on training of technical skills in the automotive, construction and hospitality sectors.

Tips To Nail Your Internship

Tips To Nail Your Internship

Written by Elbie Liebenberg for W24

Getting an internship in South Africa’s job market is just as tough as landing a permanent job. Should you be lucky enough to get this opportunity, make the best of it. Here’s how:

Principal of Oxbridge Academy  Elbie Liebenberg says the first rule of being an intern is to take your professionalism to the next level.This means dress neatly and appropriately for the role, always be punctual, be willing to learn, and complete your tasks to the best of your ability, even if those tasks seem boring. 

Apply yourself in every task

Always show that you are interested in learning by asking questions, offering assistance, and giving input where you can. And don’t be afraid to speak up about your ideas.The more you contribute, and the more you complete tasks successfully, the bigger the likelihood that more and more work will be passed your way. By the end of your internship, you will have made yourself a useful part of the team, and employers may decide that you will be a valuable permanent addition.

“Even if that doesn’t not happen, you will be assured of a glowing recommendation, and you’ll have learned important skills that will stand you in good stead when going to interviews and when starting your first real job.” she says. 

Find a mentor 

An internship allows you to build professional relationships with people in your field, which means that even if you don’t land a position at the company where you are interning, your new contacts are likely to alert you to any suitable opportunities that arise in the industry. It’s also a good idea to find someone who has been in the industry or the company for a few years, who can guide you and advise you about your field and about those practical aspects you wouldn’t have learned about during your studies.

Ask for help 

A big mistake some interns make is to think that they are incapable or that they have failed if they are asked to do something and they don’t know how. Nobody expects an intern to be able to do everything that is thrown their way. Everyone understands that an internship is a learning curve, and that it can be quite overwhelming. So if you’re unsure of what it is you are being asked to do, get clarification and assistance straight away.

It is also important to remain open to constructive criticism and not to go on the defence, as this is all part of the experience.

Keep notes 

During your internship, keep notes of all the different tasks you have mastered and the contributions you have made to the team. When your time with a company nears its end, ask whether you may schedule a short meeting with the departmental head or HR.

Then use that opportunity to discuss what went well, and to ask for the leader’s insight and advice going forward.

It’s important at this stage to thank them for the opportunity, and to demonstrate that you are a good fit for the company, that you enjoyed working there, and that you would like to be considered for future opportunities should they arise.

Image sourced here.

Jobs outlook bleak in 2016

Posted by IT-Online

need a job sign on cardboard


The prospects for job-seekers over the next few months look bleak. According to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, opportunities for job seekers will be strongest in the Electricity, Gas & Water Supply and Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sectors in 2016.

They will be weakest within the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing and Wholesale & Retail Trade sectors.
Employers in KwaZulu-Natal report the strongest hiring intentions for the second quarter of the year, while employers within the Free State report the weakest hiring intentions.

Overall, employers report conservative hiring plans for the April-June time frame, with 13% forecasting an increase in staffing levels, 8% expecting a decrease and 77% anticipating no change. Once the data is adjusted to allow for seasonal variation, the Outlook stands at +5%. Hiring prospects are unchanged when compared with 1Q 2016, but decline by six percentage points year-over-year.

Lyndy van den Barselaar, MD of Manpower SA, provides some insights: “The weak global position of the rand has had a negative impact on many South African businesses, across sectors. Increased operating and import costs, paired with the rising costs of necessities and the falling price of commodities, means that many businesses do not have the budget to hire new talent in the coming quarter. This trend is seen globally for the second quarter of 2016.”

Staffing levels are forecast to grow in all five regions during 2Q 2016, however. Employers in KwaZulu Natal report the strongest hiring prospects with a Net Employment Outlook of +9%. Some payroll gains are anticipated in both Eastern Cape and Gauteng, where Outlooks stand at +6% and +5%, respectively. Western Cape employers expect a modest hiring pace, reporting an Outlook of +4%, while the Outlook for Free State stands at +1%.

“KwaZulu-Natal is South Africa’s second largest economy, and is home to two of the country’s largest and busiest ports. The current increase in the number of imports into South Africa is contributing to the growth in the province,” Van den Barselaar comments.

When compared with the previous quarter, employers report weaker hiring prospects in three of the five regions, with the most noteworthy declines of four and two percentage points reported for Free State and Gauteng, respectively. Meanwhile, the Outlook for Eastern Cape strengthens by six percentage points.

Year-over-year, hiring plans weaken in all five regions. A considerable decline of nine percentage points is reported in Western Cape, while Outlooks are six and four percentage points weaker in Gauteng and Kwazulu Natal, respectively. In both Eastern Cape and Free State, employers report decreases of three percentage points.

Workforce gains are anticipated in eight of the 10 industry sectors during the next three months. The strongest labor market is expected by Electricity, Gas & Water Supply sector employers who report a Net Employment Outlook of +13%. Elsewhere, employers report cautiously optimistic hiring plans in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector and the Restaurants & Hotels sector, with Outlooks standing at +10% and +9%, respectively. Some hiring opportunities are also forecast in the Construction sector, with an Outlook of +8%, and in the Mining & Quarrying sector, where employers report an Outlook of +6%. Meanwhile, flat labor markets are expected in both the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing sector and the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector, with Outlooks of 0%.

“Owing to the continuing droughts, water shortages and rising cost of electricity, South African citizens continue to look into alternate sources of electricity and ways in which to conserve water. This is most definitely a contributing factor to the growth in the utilities sector, as businesses within the sector continue to work on and develop new and innovative products and ideas and expand into new areas of the country,” says Van den Barselaar.

“The continuously rising cost of doing business and living, paired with the falling Rand and commodity prices mean that more businesses and individuals are seeking the assistance and advice of those businesses operating in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector.”

Compared with the previous quarter, hiring intentions weaken in six of the 10 industry sectors. Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing sector employers report the most noteworthy decline of eight percentage points, while Outlooks are six and five percentage points weaker in the Transport, Storage & Communication sector and the Public & Social sector, respectively. However, Outlooks also strengthen in four sectors. A considerable increase of 17 percentage points is reported by Construction sector employers, while the Outlook for the Mining & Quarrying sector is 10 percentage points stronger.

Year-over-year, Outlooks also decline in six of the 10 industry sectors. The most notable declines of 17 and 14 percentage points are reported by employers in the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing sector and the Transport, Storage & Communication sector, respectively. Considerably weaker hiring prospects are also reported by employers in the Manufacturing sector, with a decline of 13 percentage points, and in the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector, where the Outlook is 11 percentage points weaker.

Elsewhere, hiring prospects improve in three sectors. A considerable improvement of 12 percentage points is reported for the Mining & Quarrying sector while the Restaurants & Hotels sector Outlook is five percentage points stronger.
“As South Africa’s Mining & Quarrying sector continues to focus on more sustainable and responsible methods, this creates opportunities for new employment within the sector, especially for those consultants who specialise in sustainability and environmental conservation,” notes van den Barselaar.

Participating employers are categorized into one of four organisation sizes: micro businesses have less than 10 employees; small businesses have 10-49 employees; medium businesses have 50-249 employees; and large businesses have 250 or more employees.
Payroll gains are expected by employers in three of the four organisation size categories during 2Q 2016.

Large employers forecast the strongest hiring pace with a Net Employment Outlook of +13%, while Outlooks stand at +7% and +4% in the medium- and small-size categories, respectively. Meanwhile, micro employers anticipate flat hiring activity with an Outlook of 0%. Quarter-over-quarter, large employers report a decline of 5 percentage points, while hiring prospects for medium- and small-size employers remain relatively stable. Micro employers report no quarter-over-quarter change.

When compared with 2Q 2015, hiring prospects weaken in all four organization size categories. Large employers report a considerable decrease of 11 percentage points while the Outlook for medium employers is seven percentage points weaker. Elsewhere, Outlooks decline by six and two percentage points for micro- and small-size employers, respectively.

“The continuously evolving modern business environment calls for organisations across all sectors to have strong plans and policies in place, in order to ensure success even in difficult economic conditions. It remains important that national and provincial government continues to work alongside the public and private sectors, to ensure that effective policies are put into place to ensure that jobs are being created and current employees are continuously being upskilled and adequately trained for operating in the evolving business landscape,” says Van den Barselaar.

Across the globe, second-quarter hiring confidence is strongest in India, Japan, Taiwan, Colombia and Guatemala, while the weakest hiring prospects are reported in Brazil, France and Italy.

The study reveals that job gains are expected in 39 of 42 countries and territories during the April-June time frame. However, despite little indication of labor market contraction, hiring intentions in most countries and territories continue to remain modest. In fact, some key labor markets, such as Germany, France and Italy, are clearly struggling to gain traction amid the current economic uncertainty. Faced with the slowdown in China and ongoing turmoil in commodity markets, most employers across the globe appear to be taking the measured approach of adding staff only when needed.

Article sourced: IT-Online


3 Preventable Reasons Why People Quit Their Jobs

The majority of reasons why people quit their jobs has to do with the company itself. There are some reasons that are out of a company’s control but these are the exception, not the rule.

An employee’s reason for leaving a company is usually something within the company’s control. It’s just a matter of seeing the company as a vessel for employees to flourish and not the other way around.

Here are 3 common and preventable reasons why people quit their jobs.

1) Company Culture

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh learned the hard way that establishing a company culture as early on as possible can make the difference between a happy place to work and a miserable one.

His former company LinkExchange was great when it was just him and his friends, but after beginning to hire outside of acquaintances, the company’s culture became directionless and dull.

So with Zappos, Hsieh was sure to establish the company culture of a fun, quirky, open, and generous place early on and it continues today. Their core values are a great reference for businesses looking to establish a company culture.

It’s not realistic for small to mid-size companies to have the resources that Zappos or Google or Facebook have to establish their company culture, but little things can be done that will go a long way.

Examine the company’s mission statement and look for ways to get your employees behind this. They don’t have to be significant, but they need to be consistent in order to avoid a loss of vision.

When an employee feels mismatched with a company culture, it can be for a variety of reasons.

According to Washington State University, some possible reasons are “how crises are handled, preferred communication style, how feedback is given, and amount of openness to be expected.”

During the interview process it’s important to see if a candidate fulfills skill requirements of the position, but just as important to see if the candidate will fit in the company culture.

2) Poor Relationship with Superior

A good salary will only go so far when it comes to employee satisfaction. According to the Huffington Post, along with many other articles, the number one reason why employees quit their jobs is a poor relationship with a superior.

In order to have a functioning employee/superior relationship, superiors need to have one-on-one meetings with subordinates that act as a forum for both parties to voice concerns.

Acknowledging those concerns will make the employee feel like their voice and opinion matter.

In order to harbor quality employee relationships, the requirements of a manager’s job need to allow them room to spend quality time with their employees. Overfilling a manager’s schedule only gives them time to be a drive-by manager.

An employee will in turn feel stuck and undervalued. Additionally, a freer schedule will allow a manager to give in-depth and quality feedback, which is basically a requirement for employee motivation.

This should go without saying, but within those one-on-one meetings, an emphasis should be placed on honesty. Make sure the line of communication between the two is an honest one.

If either individual lies about their job performance, the truth will eventually reveal itself, further putting strain on the relationship. Managers should set the example by laying all their cards on the table from the get-go.

3) Work is Un-engaging

According to Ohio University, only 29% of employees felt fully engaged in their work.

In order to bring this statistic up, employees need to feel a reason to be passionate about their job. A good way to do this is to show employees how their work directly affects the company, the client, and if possible, the greater community.

We spend a significant portion of our lives working so it’s a lot to ask of someone to work a job that they find mind-numbing and pointless.

Managers should try to find out through one-on-one meetings what an employee likes to do and what their skills and abilities are. Whenever possible, tailor an employee’s tasks to suit these skills and they will in turn feel valued and engaged.

Furthermore, encouraging employees to experiment and make mistakes can harbor innovation and a feeling of autonomy. When individuals feel they have at least some say in how their job is performed, they will do a better job than if virtually every decision is made for them.

There are some unavoidable reasons for losing an employee. For example, when they’re offered a job at Zappos (kidding, sort of). However, losing an employee for any of the three reasons mentioned is avoidable.

Establishing a company culture, ensuring managers have ample time to check in with their employees, and doing everything possible to make work engaging, will be worth a company’s efforts and reflect in improved employee loyalty.

Author: Reed Parker
Reed Parker writes about the culture and psychology of business. He enjoys playing banjo and telling bad jokes. He once stayed up all night waiting for the sun, then it dawned on him.

Article sourced from: The Real Success. Net 

Decent Work in the BPO sector

Decent Work in the BPO sector

Following the Polokwane conference, decent work for all has become one of the ANC’s key priorities.*1 According to the IOL and WTO, decent work opportunites involve creating freely chosen, productive jobs for women and men; jobs that are in safe, healthy, participatory work environments and that afford them decent and equitable remuneration, social protection and, whenever possible, professional development. *2 All of the above criteria that define decent jobs can be found in contact centres because they offer:

Permanent Jobs with Good Pay

Only 25% of staff are temporary workers compared to the national average of 50% of all workers. More than half of employees stay with the same employer for more than two years.

Contact Centers pay well and provide good advancement opportunities. Average entry level salary for agents with no experience are R6561 per month. Agents with experience earn on average R8339. Salaries for supervisors raise to R12 4573 and go as high as R60 000 for top managers.

In 2008, salaries increased by 20%, a rate significantly exceeding inflation, testimony to the growth of demand in the sector and a shortage in supply of skilled people in the sector. *4

Since good customer service ultimately depends on motivated employees contact centers are typically managed according to best HR practices, in compliance with the labour law.

Basic benefits are also provided for eg, medical aid, provident fund, wellness programmes. All statutory benefits are administered in accordance with the labour relations act and basic conditions of employment.


Professional Development

Contact centers present a well defined career path. Qualifications for agents, supervisor and managers are registered with SAQA as per the National Qualifications Framework.

52% of contact centers have their training materials SETA accredited. 56% of companies train their staff for more than 10 days a year.

Apart from a career in the contact center industry, graduates can also pursue careers in: customer care, sales, marketing, IT and administration. As a matter of fact, contact center employees are sought after because of their understanding of the world of work and their exceptional communication, customer service skills and computer skills. *5


Safe and Equitable Employment

The workforce is largely representative of the population, 85% of agents and 75% of supervisors are historically disadvantaged individuals, equally distributed across both genders.

Contact center work is a white-collar profession. It is therefore safe. Each workstation is equipped with a computer. 74% of contact centers have more than 5m2 meter of space per consultants. 68% have canteens. 43% have acoustic control.

We can speak about the standards which have been developed by the contact center industry and are SABS governed. This also contributes to safety and equitable environment.

Because contact center work is not physically demanding, it is well suited for the physically disabled. 78% of contact centres have access for the disabled and 72% have special toilets. *6


Jobs That Help Reduce Poverty

The industry has created over 100’000 jobs in the last five years and is expected to generate at least that many jobs over the same period in future especially since the BPO sector is one of the key pillars of governments industrial strategy.

Ideally suited for school levers, 48% of contact centers do not require previous experience and 68% require only Matric as entry level qualification

Contact Centers can also make a contribution to rural development. Given the industry’s continuous demand for new people, contact center operators prefer to set up new sites in places where workers are readily available as is the case in rural areas. Leveraging that trend, the DTI has therefore created incentives for companies to move into designated underdeveloped areas, in order to spread the opportunity and shift the focus away from more active regions.


Multiplier Effects

Research by the Business Trust shows that for every new direct job in the BPO sector, three other indirect jobs are created. If one takes into account that the average family has four members, for every job created in the BPO industry 12 people are benefited.


The BPO sector has enjoyed robust growth over the past five years. As customers expect ever more from businesses, contact centers have hired on average 15% more people every year, growing the industry from 70 000 to 170 000 employees *7.

Traditionally, contact centers have employed inexperienced people, particularly large companies which have their own in-house training programmes. Learnerships are therefore common in that sector. Almost half of all contact centers have had learners in their businesses.*8 As companies are forced to do more with less, they are now even more open to alternative means of recruitment and training. A recent request for expression of interest into learnerships by the industry association was oversubscribed by a factor of ten. In short, learners are in demand by the industry.


Despite the current economic downturn, the sector is expected to prosper especially since the South African government has identified the Business Process Outsourcing and Off-shoring (BPO&O) sector as one of the top three priority sectors to stimulate growth within its Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative (ASGI-SA).


“Recent events would only reinforce the need to continue with offshoring. Anything that delivers cost savings will be encouraged.“ The Everest Research Institute expects the growth rate of the offshore BPO market to be tempered in the short-term, i.e., between 0-10% over the next 18 months to pick-up once again in the region of 20-30% by 2011-12, to eventually grow at 50% per annum, which is expected to lead to 100,000 new jobs *9


Given the positive prospects for creating new employment in the sector and the willingness of the sector to employ learners, the proposed project will be sustainable in the long term.


1 ANC Today, Volume 8, No. 2 •18—24 January 2008:http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/anctoday/2008/at02.htm#art1

2 International Labour Organisation: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/afpro/cairo/

3 BPO & Call Centre Report 2007/08, p146

4 Kelly Contact Centre Salary Survey 2008

5 South African Qualifications Authority: http://regqs.saqa.org.za/viewQualification.php?id=67466

6 BPO & Call Centre Report 2007/08

7 BPO & Call Centre Report 2007/08, Multimedia Group, 2008

8 BPO & Call Centre Report 2007/08, Multimedia Group, 2008 p84

9 Ready to Compete, The Everest Group and Letsema Consulting, Department of Trade and Industry