Lack of technical skills hampering growth in SA

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Once more research has confirmed that skills shortages will be the biggest barrier to
economic progress. According to a Grant Thornton IBR survey, technical skills will
prove to
be South Africa?s Achilles heel in its quest to eradicate poverty and inequality in the
country.


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Skills shortages are threatening business growth prospects according to Grant
Thornton?s International Business Report survey.
"Businesses around the world are reporting a skills shortage epidemic that is
weighing on growth prospects' ,says Ian Scott, managing partner at Grant Thornton
Cape.
For South Africa the greatest battle will be the development and production of
professionals that have technical skills.

Grant Thornton reported, "a staggering 83% of local businesses reported a lack of
technical skills when it came to recruitment. Only 61% of BRIC economies and 64% of
global businesses reported this challenge'.
Declaring 2013 as the "Year of the Artisan? has been part of government?s
solution to addressing critical skills gaps.
"The demand [for skills]has been driven by mining investment, infrastructure
spending, including the soccer World Cup build, and growth in manufacturing,
instrumentation and telecommunications', says Sandra Burmeister in Financial Mail?s,
Fitting SA for growth.

This assertion is in line with Grant Thornton?s findings.

"When the data is split according to sector, we note that SA?s mining industry is
finding the shortage of technical skills the most challenging,' Scott continues.
The survey reported a general shortage of skilled workers in the country revealing
that more than half of SA businesses were experiencing difficulties in recruiting skilled
workers.

"SA urgently needs to address the enormous dichotomy between the skills
shortage and unemployment,' says Scott. "There is much talk in both the private
sector and government about initiatives that could improve this situation, but the
time for talking is over.'
Scott commends government initiatives, such as the Youth Wage Subsidy, as a
means of solving the skills development problem but urges government to look at
other related issues.
"These include apprenticeship schemes for skills development, which practically
disappeared when our technikons and teachers? colleges were disbanded, as well as
SA?s complex labour laws which act as a deterrent to employment, especially for
smaller businesses.'
Scott says it?s imperative for business and government to work more closely to
find solutions to SA?s employment crisis.

"We need to find innovative solutions, for example, initiatives that allow a
percentage of the total workforce to be treated more flexibly,' he suggests.
"SA also needs to urgently increase productivity, which is far behind many other
countries globally, if we are to see business growth and economic success.'
Sourced: Grant
Thornton
By Cindy Payle - Skills Portal

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