Given the state of the economy, today’s announcement by the ManpowerGroup that South Africa’s employment outlook is at its weakest in five years should hardly be surprising. Buried in the numbers, however, are indicators of how beneficial digital transformation can be.
According to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, opportunities for job seekers are expected to be strongest in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sectors, where the net employment outlook is +9%.
“These are all industries that have faced massive digital disruption over the past decade,” Tanja Lategan, CEO of digital transformation consultancy Enlight Strategic, points out. “That they’ve come through that period and are experiencing job growth is an encouraging sign.”
“It shows that, far from destroying industries, technology can aid in their overall growth resulting in increased job opportunities,” she adds.
This is supported by research from Gartner, which shows that by 2020, artificial intelligence will be a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3-million jobs worldwide while only eliminating 1.8-million jobs.
While sluggish economic growth, spurred by the ongoing energy crisis and policy uncertainty, will have an ongoing impact on the employment outlook, Lategan believes that other sectors can learn from those experiencing an uptick in hiring.
“By embracing digital transformation, organisations can improve their overall efficiency, thereby reducing costs and creating a buffer against some of the worst external economic factors,” she says.
“Whatever issues a specific industry faces, the companies that will be most resilient are those which adapt to the changing world and embrace the opportunities offered by technology to better utilise and support their employees.”
“While organisations might not be able to change government policy or end load-shedding, they can embrace digital transformation and position themselves to contribute positively to the economy and the employment rate,” she concludes.