INFOTECH: Skills Shortage Easing
Recent Western Cape Business News
The acute shortage of skills in the hi-tech sector is easing off, but more extensive training programmes must be introduced to keep the technology sector pumping.
The skills crunch has eased as the global recession saw many foreign opportunities dry up, and that slowed down South Africa’s brain drain, says Tellumat CEO Rasheed Hargey. Many local companies also scaled back or went bust during the recession, meaning there were fewer vacancies to fill and more workers on the market.
Yet those are just temporary halts, and the crisis will return as forcefully as ever unless more is done to create a generation of new entrants to the workplace with better skills than their predecessors.
“The brain drain has slowed but there is still a big market pull from overseas,” says Hargey. “Tellumat is heavily involved in the development of technologies and we export a lot of it overseas, so it’s very important for us to ensure that the country retains its skills. Our technologies are sophisticated so we need people with a lot of experience.”
The government has made some progress in addressing the problem but must do more, Hargey says. “There is still a mismatch between what the universities are pushing out and what industries actually require. There must be more alignment between the Department of Science and Technology and the Education Department, and more alignment with the corporate world so the universities can prepare students for the commercial challenges.”
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