C-suite execs among critical skills needed in South Africa
Nearly 80% of organisations in South Africa are struggling to recruit and obtain critical skills in the country for their local and cross-border operations, with 76% confirming that an international search is necessary to meet business objective.
That’s according to Xpatweb’s Critical Skills Survey 2020/2021 , an annual survey of an array of multinational and corporate firms that’s fast become known as a benchmark for business and policy makers.
The survey reinforces the continuing difficulty South African organisations face when recruiting within and highlights the need for upskilling in certain key areas. Over the past five years, the skills shortage has persisted with eight categories of skills dominating the top of the list of professionals that business find most difficult to recruit, including engineers (18%), ICT (13%), media and marketing professionals (9%) and C-suite executives (7%).
According to the latest survey, the top 10 skills businesses are struggling to recruit include:
- Engineers (18%)
- ICT (13%)
- Foreign language speakers (10%)
- Media and Marketing Specialists (9%)
- Artisans (8%)
- C-Suite Executives (7%)
- Senior Financial Executives (6%)
- Health Professions
- Related Clinical Sciences (5%)
- Science Professionals (4%)
- Accounting (1%)
The survey reveals an increase of 2% since 2019 (from 16% to 18%) in the number of businesses that are finding it difficult to recruit engineers. While mechanical engineers (26%) are most in demand, maintenance engineers (18%), chemical engineers (13%) and industrial engineers (14%) are also difficult to find within the country.
Similarly, there’s been an increase in the number of firms finding it difficult to source ICT skills, with the most sought-after professionals including IT application developers (11%), data analysts (10%), data scientists (9%), software developers (9%) and software engineers (8%). According to Marisa Jacobs, Managing Director of Xpatweb, “as big data, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet of things rapidly shape the way of doing business… sourcing these skills is a priority that custs across all sectors.”
C-suite and senior financial executives difficult to find
Executives are in demand with 7% and 6% of organisations struggling to find C-suite execs and senior financial personnel, respectively. The most in-demand senior roles include chief operating officer (24%), chief financial officer (24%), chief executive officer (19%) and chief technology officer (19%) with these positions most sought-after in the sectors of finance, manufacturing, IT and mining.
According to Marisa Jacobs, Managing Director of Xpatweb, factors influencing the challenges that businesses face in recruiting the right person for the these roles include the fact that organisations are increasingly seeking professionals with international expertise.
“Businesses are not only seeking essential tick-box qualifications and experience required for a traditional executive position, but they want professionals who are equipped with niche business experience to lead their expansion and growth across international markets.”
Such global expansion of businesses and especially growth in cross-border trade on the African continent has also led to rising demand for foreign language skilled professionals with 10% of organisations struggling to find people with adequate foreign language skills, a significant leap from just 4% in 2019.
Among the language speakers most in demand are French (29%), German (18%), Mandarin (14%), Italian (10%), Spanish (10%) and Dutch (4%), with sectors most needing language skills including ICT, finance, hospitality and tourism and education.
Difficulty due to global competition for skills
Difficulties in finding such critical skills is in part due to South Africa competing on a global stage, the research finds, with the US, Australia and UK critical skills shortage lists virtually mirroring those of South Africa.
“South Africa has to compete more than ever with the likes of the US, Australia and the UK when considering its strategy to recruit skilled professionals,” says Jacobs, adding that South African policy makers therefore need to consider how to make it as easy as possible for skilled professionals to gain access to work and businesses opportunities locally.
“Fortunately, the government is serious about this and has updated the critical skills list to stay in touch with the needs of the local economy,” explains Jacobs.
People Moves EMEA: Kearney, KPMG, Oliver Wyman, Skoda
It’s been a busy week for executive transitions across EMEA and especially in the world of consulting, with partner/CEO announcements at Oliver Wyman, KPMG and Kearney, and in the role of head of sustainability, with new CSO appointments at Laing O’Rourke and Syngenta Group.
We round up the biggest executive moves across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Nick Studer announced as CEO of consulting giant Oliver Wyman
Set to take the top job at consulting giant Oliver Wyman next month, Nick Studer has been named CEO and Dual President of the firm’s economic and brand consulting subsidiaries NERA and Lippincott and will be based in London. Having been with Oliver Wyman for more than two decades, becoming partner in 2003, Studer has since served in a variety of international leadership roles, including head of Global Corporate and Institutional banking Practice, before becoming managing partner at the start of 2021.
According to Dan Glaser, CEO of Oliver Wyman parent Marsh McLennan, Studer has not just led many of the firm’s practices, but he “has been a leading voice for change and a major driver of our Inclusion and Diversity agenda”.
Delphine Bourrilly to lead Kearney in France
Seasoned consultant Delphine Bourrilly has been appointed leader of consulting firm Kearney for France, one of the firm’s larger locations in Europe, becoming fifth head of the Paris office. Having been with Kearney for more than a decade, most recently leading the Leadership, Change and Organisation practice across Europe, Bourrilly has an array of client successes under her consulting belt, including overseeing an operating model transformation at a large retailer. Prior to this, she spent five years at UBS. According to Geir Olsen, Head of Europe at Kearney, Bourrilly’s “talent, energy and charisma will be critical in leading Kearney through its next growth phase in France”.
Roland Villinger becomes head of corporate and product strategy, Skoda Auto
A consulting veteran, Roland Villinger has been appointed head of Skoda Auto’s corporate and product strategy, a newly created area for the Czech car manufacturer that combines two departments. Described by Skoda’s CEO Thomas Schafer as “an international experienced leader and proven digital expert”, Villinger most recently oversaw the implementation of Volkswagen Group strategy and was also previously chief strategy officer and chief digital officer at Audi AG. Prior to this, he spent 25 years at consultancy McKinsey including serving as a senior partner and running McKinsey’s operations in the APAC region.
Hanan Alowain promoted to Partner, public sector, KPMG
Becoming the second Saudi female partner in the history of KPMG, Hanan Alowain has been promoted to Partner in the firm’s Public Sector function. With 14 years of experience in human capital and social development in the Kingdom, including the last three and a half years at KPMG, Alowain is a Harvard Business School graduate with extensive experience both in the public sector, as director of research and development for the Saudi government’s Ministry of Labour, and the private sector, including as a partner at investment & development group Eradah.
Vicky Bullivant named Laing O’Rourke’s first-ever group head of sustainability
Seasoned ESG leader Vicky Bullivant is joining Laing O’Rourke as its first-ever group head of sustainability from Drax Group where she was head of sustainable business and responsible for developing the firm’s climate ambition, social strategy and community and charity policies. Having led the world’s first company ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, and the UK’s first energy company to commit to improving skills and education for one million people by 2025, Bullivant boasts 25 years of ESG business experience in highly regulated sectors, FTSE 100 companies, government and NGOs.
Bullivant spent eight years at Experian, where she was head of corporate affairs and community, nearly four years as head of corporate responsibility at Eon, five years as group head of sustainability at Rolls-Royce, where she turned around the firm’s performance in the Dow Jones Sustainability index, as well as sustainability heads at Tate & Lyle and Drax Group.
Daniel Vennard joins Syngenta Group as new CSO
Former global director at the World Resources Institute Daniel Vennard has been appointed chief sustainability officer for Syngenta Group. Based in Basel, Switzerland, Vennard will be responsible for developing and implementing the Group’s sustainability into its business strategy. Bringing extensive experience in the development of sustainability strategies and in launching global sustainability programmes that deliver growth and impact, Vennard most recently served as global director at the World Resources Institute, Vennard founded the Better Buying Lab bringing together scientists to develop, test and scale innovations that help consumers opt for sustainable plant-based food.
Prior to this he spent 15 years at Mars and Procter & Gamble in sustainability, corporate strategy and marketing and brings “creativity and remarkable expertise in sustainability” that will “help us further advance regenerative farming practices and help mitigate the harmful effects of global warming”, says Erik Fyrwald, CEO, Syngenta Group.