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Digital transformation to ease SA’s weak jobs outlook

Read time 1min 50sec
Enlight Strategic CEO Tanja Lategan.
Enlight Strategic CEO Tanja Lategan.

SA's hiring outlook for the first quarter of 2020 is the weakest it has been in five years, according to the Manpower Group Employment Outlook Survey.

The survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforces during the next quarter.

In the latest survey, opportunities for job seekers are expected to be strongest in the finance, insurance, real estate and business services sectors, where the net employment outlook is +9%.

According to Tanja Lategan, CEO of digital transformation consultancy Enlight Strategic, the opportunities in these sectors are marked by the advancement of technology. She says the depressed South African jobs outlook underlines the need to embrace digital transformation.

“These are all industries that have faced massive digital disruption over the past decade. That they’ve come through that period and are experiencing job growth is an encouraging sign.

“It shows that, far from destroying industries, technology can aid in their overall growth, resulting in increased job opportunities.”

Lategan says this is supported by research from Gartner, which shows by 2020, artificial intelligence will be a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3 million jobs worldwide, while only eliminating 1.8 million jobs.

While sluggish economic growth, spurred by the ongoing energy crisis and policy uncertainty, will have an ongoing impact on the employment outlook, Lategan believes other sectors can learn from those experiencing an uptick in hiring.

“By embracing digital transformation, organisations can improve their overall efficiency, thereby reducing costs and creating a buffer against some of the worst external economic factors. Whatever issues a specific industry faces, the companies that will be most resilient are those which adapt to the changing world and embrace the opportunities offered by technology to better utilise and support their employees.”

Lategan concludes: “While organisations might not be able to change government policy or end load-shedding, they can embrace digital transformation and position themselves to contribute positively to the economy and the employment rate.”

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