Reskilling for the 4th Industrial Revolution

South Africans can also use the Department of Home Affairs Immigration critical skills list to gauge what skills  employers and the country requires. Link here –

For decades,  commentators, HR professionals and economists have spoken about the misalignment of skills between the skills that higher education is producing in South Africa versus what employers are requiring in the 21st century.

The mismatch has not stemmed 28 years into our democracy. Instead, the official unemployment rate hit 34,9% in the third quarter of 2021.The Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) — Quarter 1 of 2021 puts the aggregate rate of unemployed graduates at 9.3%.

I receive hundreds of employment requests in my inboxes every year. Individuals who are sitting at home with qualifications that have not landed them even an intern foot in the door. And everyone is begging for an opportunity to prove themselves.

However, no amount of passion can land you a position that is not required or critical 😭? A job is not created to suit your skill. A skill is required to fulfill a job. That is the blunt truth.

Thus the concept of reskilling has to be our mantra in 2022. If you are finding it difficult to land a job or have been sitting at home with a qualification, applying for years. The message is clear. Your skill is not critical 😢

I have a friend who moved to South Africa from Zimbabwe a few decades ago. When he arrived in South Africa, he had a degree and a few years of work in financial services under his belt. However, in order to find employment, he needed to get a qualification that was required and recognised. He worked for three years as a security guard upgrading his skills. He went up the ranks in financial services. I met him when I was studying towards my MBA. He was still upgrading his skills. We worked full-time and studied, attending Thursday to Sunday every six weeks. Many hours spent on campus. Many family functions missed. Some friends fell on way side because they had different priorities and no patience for 2 years of “not being available”.

In our neighbourhood, in Durban, there is a domestic worker who is now a registered nurse. Studying through correspondence for years to achieve her goal.

I live with the example of upskilling yourself in my Mum. Because she had no one to pay for her higher education, she trained as a nurse. Started working. Studied for years to Masters Level, short of her thesis, so converted to Honours. So has two Honours degrees. Ended up lecturing most of her career life. Provided an amazing life for me.

Reskilling must be our mantra. We cannot carry the title of “mismatched education and misalignment of skills” as a badge. And a ridiculously high unemployment rate. Just not a smart way for our country to be relevant in the 4th Industrial Revolution. It is a recipe for chaos, unrest and instability for all of us.


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