Talent Agenda Conference

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Human Capital Excellence in Africa

The Talent Gap in Africa: Challenges to Businesses

With many markets across Africa in double digit growth, expansion in the continent is high on the agenda of companies around the world. Despite this potential however, Africa faces one big challenge in creating sustainable growth, a talent gap hindering the pace of growth. This is a challenge recognised at the top level, as the 16th Annual Global Survey conducted by PwC in 2012 of over 1300 CEO’s, highlighted that 82% of African CEO’s view the availability of key skills as a threat to business growth.

As human capital is the key to growth in this market, finding the right talent to ensure continued growth for organisations is paramount. Constraints on the availability of local talent possessing the skills and expertise to support businesses in a booming economy will have a major impact on future growth. Assessing skilled human capital in many African countries is an issue, and many do not have the expertise or experience required by the businesses to fulfil the roles available – the roles that will drive businesses – subsequently resulting in many turning to the pool of available diaspora to ensure business growth. The talent gap widens the higher up the hierarchy of a company you go, with the lack of soft skills and international experience required at a managerial level being the catalyst for companies to seek talent from outside Africa. Although this is one solution to ensure continued growth, it overlooks the fact that the real issues are around developing local talent to meet these organisational requirements. Local talent needs to be supported and developed early on to reach the skill and experience levels required by companies in Africa. Companies need to nurture Africa’s future business leaders from the outset to ensure the talent pool is available to them at a local level.

It is inevitable that the levels of growth will slow down if local talent is not managed and developed. What is required is a deeper understanding of the skills needed, and skills specifically that will benefit businesses in the African market, some of which do not currently exist in the local talent pool available.
In most cases, a mix of both local and diaspora talent could be the solution – ensuring local talent is exposed to those who have gained international experience in order to share their knowledge and expertise, creating a development agenda within organisations. This is until the levels of education and work experience available to African talent wishing to stay in their home country are at the standard required by organisations, and therefore more competitive internationally. Alongside this, the cultural knowledge and understanding of the market place that local talent can bring to a company is also essential. Without this deeper level of understanding of a market place, organisations may find growth is not at a level they require as this intrinsic knowledge is invaluable. It must also be taken into consideration that returning diaspora, whilst they may have certain soft skills required to fulfil an organisations requirements, may need support re-integrating back into society. How long they have been away and their level of experience and education could have an adverse effect in terms of embedding themselves easily into the culture and environment of an organisation.

The Talent Agenda 2014 Conference organised by Global Career Company is taking place on May 16th in London at the Hilton in Canary Wharf. It aims to cover this increasingly important topic for discussion, and is a unique opportunity to bring together HR Leaders, business leaders and academics to provide an understanding of the challenges businesses face in finding or creating the talent needed to operate and grow internationally.
Alex Mugan, Marketing Director at Global Career Company said about the conference: “Rapid growth creates demand in human capital, not just for new talent, but for the delivery of excellence across the field. From in- house recruiters to consultancies and agencies, this is the reality for anyone operating in Africa. The Talent Agenda 2014 Conference is a long term view of the market place as it stands and where it wants to get to. Assessing and addressing the issues, and creating a blueprint to support businesses in achieving human capital excellence, is critical to the success of all professionals in this space.’

With a packed agenda and a panel of guest speakers from companies such as Exim Bank, Amatheon Agri Holding, Ashridge, Schlumberger and Unilever, Talent Agenda 2014 will lead the discussion on human capital excellence in Africa. There are still a limited number of opportunities to attend so contact Global Career Company for more information on conference@globalcc.net.