February 13, 2012

Worldwide, Employees Need the Skills Desired by Local Businesses


Worldwide – whether it’s the United States or half-way across the world in South Africa – there is a clear need to train employees in the latest technology so they meet the labor force needs of local businesses.

The needs were expressed by both South Africa’s Foster-Melliar and U.S. President Barack Obama in recent statements made across the world from each other. Growth in technology appears to be moving faster than the skill development found among employees, according to recent reports.

In South Africa for instance, new technology is being picked up by markets faster than the skills possessed by workers in the local IT industry, Foster-Melliar’s General Manager Zaheer Kader said. “As technology improves, so do the needs associated to most of the job functions,” Kader said in a recent company statement carried by IT Web Business. He adds that companies should invest in training of employees in “core competencies.”

“When organizations invest in development of their employees, they can then expect more productivity and higher innovation levels,” Kader adds in the story.

In a related matter, Obama said recently he wants the nation to train 2 million U.S. workers with skills that will get them jobs. Because many U.S. jobs require specific technical skills, openings are going unfilled.  On Monday, Obama called for a new $8 billion Community College to Career Fund. The fund will be used to train 2 million potential employees “for good-paying jobs in high-growth and high-demand industries,” according to a statement from the White House. The jobs are in such areas as health care, transportation, and advanced manufacturing. With the fund, community colleges will become “community career centers” where students learn skills needed immediately by businesses in the college’s locale.

In addition, from Kader’s perspective in South Africa, a majority of executives say the rapid change in technology is a “very difficult challenge” for their businesses. “Rapid changes in technology sometimes require upgrades and new acquisitions in order that the technology is well-harvested,” Kader said in the company statement carried in the news story. “These require investments, which many companies would look really hard into before deciding upon.”

Properly trained employees are comfortable with changing technology, Kader adds, and training can also be outsourced so companies can focus on their core business. “These employees are more productive and improve overall service delivery. They also work better as a team, while improving effectiveness and reducing management time and costs,” he said in the article.


Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves



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