How can tech innovation address SA’s employment crisis?

South Africa’s ICT sector is currently experiencing a significant employment slowdown, with recruitment down 11% year-on-year compared to the first quarter of 2023. This is according to the latest CareerJunction Employment Insights report, which collected by Saongroup South Africa, who work with over 5,000 of SA’s leading recruiters.

According to the report, despite continued demand for IT skills, the sector continues to experience a decline in hiring activity, with a 26% year-on-year decline over the past two years.

In South Africa, big businesses have seen layoffs in various sectors as a way to weather uncertain economic times. gloomy.

Technology business leaders share their insights on what can be done to turn the economic tide, not only from a job creation perspective, but also to create meaningful work experiences and deliver accredited digital skills training of the future.


Salesforce research has shown that more than 60% of full-time desk workers lack the skills to use generative AI technology, even though most of them are convinced that this knowledge will advance their careers. As a result, training the next generation, as well as reskilling the current generation when it comes to AI, is a key component of the technology revolution

According to Ursula Fear, Senior Talent Program Manager at Salesforce South AfricaAI specialists must be empowered to rapidly implement, monitor and ensure best security practices when it comes to AI.

We need to act urgently to mitigate the fact that we do not want to have too many certified but unemployed young people entering the workforce. Importing talent is not a long-term solution and we cannot extend the contracts of those entering the country to fix the problem now. We need to upskill locally and ensure we have the talent to take the vital technology sector, which contributes around 8% to the economy, to the next level, says Fear.

South Africa requires a change of mindset and the government cannot tackle the skills crisis alone. It requires collaboration and partnership from the business sector to form long-term solutions that tangibly address the existing digital skills gap by providing young people with hands-on experience. Tertiary education and certificates form a critical component of empowering our current and future ICT workforce, but what is really needed is the provision of practical experience and mentoring to sustainably develop future leaders and entrepreneurs and to boost South Africa’s economy, adds Frika. .

Blink by MiWay: Embracing technology means creating opportunities

Technology is here to stay, and with high unemployment rates in South Africa and a tech jobs crisis, there are many ways in which we can use technology to create opportunities, both professionally and personally.

As a technology-first business, we highly value the right digital skills and appreciate that what digital and technology skills encompass is constantly expanding, along with digital innovation, says Keletso Mpisane, Head of Blink from MiWay.

Skills needed in the insurance sector include analytical skills, attention to detail, legal knowledge and technical skills. All these skills are related to the use of technology, especially with data control and the use of big data. The development of these skills is necessary for the insurance sector, which provides a platform for those skills to be improved and cultivated and creates job opportunities.

Zoho: The right technology tools at the right price

like Andrew Bourne, Regional Head, Africa at Zoho, believes that the right technology tools, at the right price, can support digital literacy and develop the ICT skills South Africa needs.

In fact, says Bourne, we need the children of the future so they are equipped to apply for jobs that require digital and developmental skills.

With low-code platforms, for example, citizen developers can create complex and powerful business applications without requiring costly and lengthy training. Most low-code application development can be managed by users who have only moderate technical knowledge, he adds.

Sportingbet: Innovation drives job creation

The growth of online sports betting platforms is creating new skills development and employment opportunities, with technology playing a crucial role in job creation, especially for women.

Gail Odgers, Head of Buying at Sportingbet, says: It is important to put in place systems that facilitate mentoring, learning opportunities and skill development for women, and this should be an ongoing process. Also, developing and engaging soft skills by leveraging industry updates, coaching and engaging with other women in the industry at conferences.

I feel positive about the future outlook for sports betting in South Africa. Things look a lot different today than they did even five years ago. We are seeing more women growing in this space and it would be great to see more women owning the sports betting business, adds Odgers.

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