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The state of IT skills in Africa

August 30, 2011 • Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

IDG Connect recently carried out a study on the state of IT Skills worldwide and a number of interesting facts have come to light regarding Africa. The study was based on the survey of 3169 IT professionals from 105 countries.

If the IT skills shortage is as much of a problem as many people believe, it will have a real impact on the future global economy. (image: stock.xchng)

“The striking thing about these results is that most people surveyed do not appear to believe there is an IT skills shortage. Although across the globe the majority of those who took part stated that senior technical skills were most lacking from the market place,” said Kathryn Cave, Editor at IDG Connect International.

To the question of how many IT vacancies are open in Africa, 40% of the professionals surveyed believed that there is a medium volume of vacancies available. This is compared to about 15% who believed there is a high volume of vacancies open, while 30% said that there are very few vacancies available.

The study revealed that the majority of the participants felt that senior technical skills were missing from the market. A high percentage (almost 80%) said Africa needs more senior personnel, while just over 30% suggested a need for business or entry level staff.

The majority of people surveyed across all regions also believed the economy was a big reason for most IT employment problems. While North America ranked the highest in blaming the economy (over 80%), only 70% of Africans felt that the economy was to blame. Just over 20% said the African economy didn’t play a role.

But Africa and South America ranked the highest when it came to IT training, with about 65% of the people surveyed believing that poor IT training was a major problem in terms of IT employment.

Of those surveyed, a vast majority felt that the lack of interest in IT careers was not an issue in Africa. Just fewer than 30% said that it was indeed a problem, while about 5% had no opinion on the matter.

Although the majority of people surveyed stated that the lack of interest in IT careers was not an issue, 68.75% of Africans, 62.96% of South Americans and 58.15% of Asians believed the best IT talent moves abroad, compared to 14.15% of North Americans surveyed. “Compensations and benefits do not reflect the hardship in the country causing flight of skills to other countries,” commented a business manager from Nigeria.

When asked what they thought were the reasons for IT employment problems in their area, Africa once again ranked the highest, with 71% saying entry level workers have a different work ethic to older employees.

Although the study revealed some interesting trends and movements, Cave added that it only provides a small snap-shot of reality. “No research is ever fully representative and the majority of those who took part in this survey held senior IT roles and had been in their jobs for over two years. In addition to this more than half across all regions did not have plans to change jobs any time soon. This statistic was highest in North America where an overwhelming 78.68% intended to stay put.”

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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