• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Africa’s population, diversity key to developing future global talent pool – HR experts

Africa’s population, diversity key to developing future global talent pool – HR experts

Human resource experts and professionals have said Africa’s demographic dividend and diversity is key to developing a global talent pool for the future.

This was revealed at the recent panel discussion of Mondelēz International (parent company of Cadbury Nigeria Plc), and Top Employers’ Institute. Both Mondelēz South Africa and Cadbury Nigeria are certified as top employers in Africa.

Speaking at the event, Njabulo Mashigo, human resources director at Vodacom South Africa, said the second most populated continent, with its diverse cultures and people, has much to offer the world of work.

“Africa’s demographic dividend places it at an advantage. With a massive pool of diverse and talented young people, businesses are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting and developing the leaders of tomorrow,” she said.

She said in addition, the agility, resilience, and creativity of Africans, as well as their appetite to contribute to the global economy, make them the perfect choice for businesses looking to grow and expand their services on the continent and further afield.

“Corporates, governments and educational institutions need to work collaboratively to develop the skills needed to take the continent forward,” she said.

Keshnie Martin, head of human resources at Accenture Africa added that young talent in Africa exists and that they just need opportunities and investment to flourish. “Africa’s diversity affords it a competitive edge in respect of the global economy.”

According to Cebile Xulu, senior director, People Lead, Sub-Saharan Africa at Mondelēz International, the continent not only develops pockets of technological excellence and innovation, but its agricultural capital has the potential to help address food insecurity worldwide.

The discussion also touched on the skills needed to operate in a work environment that is characterised by the fourth industrial revolution. A Top Employer Report suggests that critical skills in this milieu include critical thinking, resilience, flexibility, and emotional intelligence, which can be developed via personalised leadership programmes.

Xulu of Mondelēz International, said a collaborative approach was needed to promote young talent on the continent.

“Only through strategic partnerships with governments, multinationals and local businesses can we come up with viable solutions to upskill young talent, expose them to the world of work, and retain them on our amazing continent.”

The panellists also touched on ways of accommodating the younger generation in the workplace, suggesting that leadership structures be more agile and consider their preference for hybrid work, “gig” or project work, and side hustles.

“Young people want to be acknowledged and heard. Their career trajectories are made up of shorter tenures than traditional roles. They also want to make meaningful contributions to their workplaces. As such, leaders need to embrace their differences and adjust their leadership styles to make the most of this young workforces’ desire to do good,” they said.

The panelists interrogated how to approach skills transfer in a mutually beneficial way by exporting African talent to the rest of the world, but also learning from other more developed markets to nurture local talent that is retained on the continent.

“While they might bring global talent to the continent when they start out, it is important that they ensure skills transfer to local talent within a stipulated time frame and put succession plans for local talent in place for a more sustainable approach,” Martin of Accenture Africa said.