By Reon Janse van Rensburg
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is quickly becoming a reality. It is visible in other countries all over the world. In South Africa, catching up is at the order of the day. There are many people upskilling in the digital world. However, there are still thousands of learners who leave school without the necessary digital literacy. This is problematic because the most job opportunities that are available today require digital skills. These skills are important because there are predictions that in the next seven years, 5,7 million jobs in South Africa will be digitally automated.
The financial services sector in South Africa is one of the fastest developing sectors in an economy which is currently not performing well. Technological progress causes the fastest growing South African markets for financial technology (FinTech) to create a climate to excel world-wide.
Large enterprises in the sector made a variety of structural changes such as state of the art technology with the aim of automating services, as well as a focus on innovation and more cost-effective operational techniques. Recently, the sector also invested in improving client experience.
Notwithstanding reports that South Africans are busy improving their skills profile, the financial sector is still concerned about the lack of necessary skills. More than half of the top managers in the financial services sector indicated that their respective companies were not able to generate innovative momentum due to a lack of the necessary skills.
In response to these factors, many financial services companies are transforming their business models and processes, data analysis and design-thinking, as well as using artificial intelligence (AI). However, it is not possible in certain sectors in the existing workforce because there are not enough skills to keep up with the changes.
Technology plays an important role in the South African economy, especially because the country regards innovation as the road out of economic stagnation. The development of innovative digital abilities which complies with a worldwide standard is one of the means with which the country endeavours to find a place in the world market.
The Deloitte report on Human Capital Trends in 2019 indicates that the majority of South African enterprises regard learning as a central priority. This finding comes amid similar trends the world over where people come to the fore as the centre of organisational strategies. To bring back meaning and human identity to the workplace, it is clear that traditional human capital programmes and processes will have to be discovered in a fundamental way.