Skills shortage hampers business: Survey

By Drum Digital
09 May 2013

A shortage of key skills is affecting business growth and requires government intervention, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recently found in an international survey of business leaders.

"Businesses are struggling with a widening mismatch between the skills of their workforce and the skills they need to achieve strong growth," PwC human resource services director Gerald Seegers said in a statement.

"There needs to be a joint approach to addressing the problem, with businesses and governments working together to plug the skills gap."

While more than half of the 1300 chief executives surveyed globally found the skills shortage a problem, 82 percent of African business leaders identified it as threatening their potential for growth.

In South Africa, the level of concern declined from 84 percent in 2011 to 71 percent last year.

The research showed that mining, energy, engineering and construction companies experienced the most chronic shortage of skilled employees.

South African chief executives were more positive than their global counterparts about the effectiveness of leadership development in their companies.

Almost 90 percent regarded programmes to encourage diversity among business leaders and to involve managers below board level in strategic decision-making as most effective.

Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said governments needed to prioritise creating and encouraging a skilled workforce in the year ahead.

Almost two-thirds of the business leaders regarded rising tax burdens as a threat their business growth.

"The most successful companies will combine recruitment with developing the people they already have," Seegers said.

"Those with a balanced approach to growing their own talent and buying in key skills are most likely to succeed."

-by Sapa

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