South Africa Facing Executive Skills Shortage

South Africa is facing an executive skills shortage, with experts calling for late retirement in order to retain skills.

“There is a deficit of skills at executive level in South Africa and in Africa as a whole. There is such a scarcity that boards of directors now realise that they have to pay to get the right person,” Gusti Coetzer, founding member of Talent Africa, told CNBC Africa.

"One of our problems in South Africa is the skills gap between executives and [those in] the lower levels. There is a need to upskill [the] lower levels in the country." 

Coetzer added that the continent equally had a scarcity of well trained and competent people, forcing recruitment firms to conduct a global search in specialised skills.

Mlamuli Mthembu, managing director of Landelahni Leadership, agreed with Coetzer, adding that projects currently being undertaken in the continent required highly skilled manpower, which was unfortunately difficult to find in the region.

“If one looks at the projects that Africa is currently pursuing, one will realise that there is more need for highly skilled people, and these skilled people are not readily available,” Mthembu noted, and called on the skilled African diaspora community to return home and offer their skills.

“Calling for the return of the diaspora is one of the challenges we now need to look at and lure those skilled people back home,” he said.

“Some are coming back on their own but there is a lot to be done to provide a clear vision, demonstrating that they are welcome to come home.”
Mthembu explained that there was also need to relook at the retirement age and

Mthembu explained that there was also need to relook at the retirement age and raise it to roughly 65 or 70 years old in order to retain exceptional skills.

South Africa’s immigration framework, according to Coetzer, was also making it difficult to bring skilled professionals into the country.

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