Avoiding the talent trap

Transnet's South African ports, inlcuding Duban (pictured), have embraced psychometric assessment for recruitment. Credit: Clive Reid Transnet's South African ports, inlcuding Duban (pictured), have embraced psychometric assessment for recruitment. Credit: Clive Reid
Industry Database

The ports industry is investing and expanding rapidly in Africa – but there’s a real mismatch in terms of skills. African countries dominate the top half of the international unemployment list, and the general sentiment is that the statistics are over-optimistic and real unemployment much higher, says Cobus du Plessis at Red Sky Consulting.

How can companies avoid he calls the ‘Talent Trap’? He suggests three key points. First, the leadership must be committed to proactive talent development; second, a systematic HR management strategy must be adopted; and third, psychometric assessments should be implemented to identify role-specific potential.

“In West Africa, there is a significant gap between the skills required by industry and the available talent pool’s competence. The available workforce consists of the unskilled, uneducated majority, and the under-skilled, over-qualified minority. The central challenge is to identify and develop industry required potential, supply industry with a competent workforce, and meet the labour demand of for economic growth.”

Such a psychometric assessment has been developed and implemented in South Africa and its success is attributed to its scientific ability to measure people's potential to successfully develop the competencies of a specific role,” says Mr du Plessis. “This assessment is used extensively, as for recruitment and selection, training needs, succession planning and personal development purposes by organisations such as Transnet Port Terminals and Engen. Not only is this assessment valid, reliable and fair, it also integrates seamlessly with existing organisational systems. Therefore these assessments are increasingly being utilised throughout the Sub-Saharan region.

Africa’s unparalleled window of opportunity for economic development requires proactive talent development to ensure a sustainable competitive advantage, says Mr du Plessis. “A systematic and scientific HR management strategy is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.”

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