New realities demand new thinking about competence, not just skill and experience 

Global megatrends, not least of which is digitisation, are rapidly changing workplaces the world over, and South Africa is not exempt. We have already seen the introduction of robots into financial services businesses with a direct impact on the number and type of workers that will be needed into the future.

The recent Accenture report, Reworking the Revolution: Are you ready to compete as intelligent technology meets human ingenuity to create the future workforce?, indicates that one in three jobs in South Africa (5.7 million jobs) is currently at risk of total automation. Of course, whilst some jobs will become obsolete or radically change demanding new skills, the fourth industrial revolution also creates opportunities for new jobs with different, increasingly more complex skills.

As a specialist recruiter in the Data & Analytics field, TSR knows only too well the growing demand for suitably skilled individuals to take charge of increasingly digitised workplaces and to make sense of the mountains of data that is being accumulated within businesses. The business opportunities available from machine learning and big data analytics can only be tapped into with the right skills driving the processes.

Recruiting for Jobs that previously didn’t exist

As jobs change and the requirements for these are determined, it is no longer feasible to utilise the traditional recruitment model – hire someone who has done THIS before. According to LinkedIn, South Africa continues the trend with majority of candidates making lateral career moves, i.e. doing the SAME thing just in a different company. And whilst most candidates will admit that they’d ideally like to gain career mobility with a move, organisations’ focus on only (or at best mostly) hiring individuals who’ve done precisely the job they’re recruiting for, negates this in many instances.

Not only does this create challenges for sourcing, particularly in newly created roles where previous experience of precisely that nature is unlikely to be found, it also becomes a barrier to transformation.

Changing the Face of Business

Employment Equity remains a leading business agenda and the combination of scarce skills requirements and demographic specificity creates unique recruitment challenges for most South African corporations.

TSR is fully committed to transformation and continues to work with our clients to source the best and brightest individuals with the appropriate skill and competence to deliver in critical roles. We work closely with clients to understand their technical and organisational drivers to identify, source and recruit the best people.

Of great pride to us in reflecting on 2017 is that of the 36 high-skilled roles placed, 32 were EE candidates, more than half of  which were Black African.

Advantages of Diversity

2017 research published by the Harvard Business Review indicates that cognitively diverse teams solve problems 60% faster than more homogenous teams. And not only will they make faster decisions, teams comprised of people with different backgrounds, experiences and skills means that ideas generated more innovative and creative ideas, a critical component for global competitiveness today.

Various reports, including by LinkedIn and PWC, have also highlighted that organisations that embrace – and celebrate – diversity also see improvements in perception of employer brand and achieve greater success in recruitment and retention of scarce skills.

Enabling Transformation

To succeed in transforming workplaces from a skills and demographic perspective, organisations need to be willing to review and reinvent their recruitment processes. Most   importantly, it’s the realisation – throughout the business – that a “plug and play” model is increasingly less effective. Rather, it’s about determining WHAT work needs to be done, WHICH skill sets will achieve this, and WHO would best fit the organisation’s current and future objectives.

Transferability of skill remains a key component for 21st century recruitment and this demands that recruiters – and hiring managers – move beyond assuming fit only by seeing, on a CV, previous direct experience to more comprehensively understanding the role requirements and conducting a thorough, individualised assessment process to determine “fit” and prospects for success.

We work with our clients, both in research and recruitment divisions, guiding them on the current, and prospective future, availability of skill and how best to attract and retain their desired talent.