Study shows majority of Kenyan workforce ready to shift jobs

A new study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network has revealed that 75 percent of Kenyans spend significant time each year refining their skills and that 84 percent say that they are willing to re-skill for a different job role, trends that are above global results of 65pc and 67pc respectively.

A report based on the study, Decoding Global Trends in Upskilling and Reskilling, has been released as part of the ongoing Decoding Global Talent series from BCG (one of the world’s leading management consultancies) and The Network (a global alliance of more than 50 leading recruitment websites).

The study revealed that 77% of Kenyans use on-the-job training for learning, followed by 47% who use self-learning and 45% who learn through seminars and conferences. Some other resources used for learning are traditional learning institutions at 35%, online educational institutions at 34%, mobile apps at 18% and government programs at 6%. They identified analytical skills, communication and leadership skills as the most important skills as perceived by the Kenyan respondents.

Change is coming, and people are willing to Upskill and Reskill to be ready

Across the globe, people are aware of how work is changing, with an average of 61% saying that they believe their current jobs will be greatly affected by megatrends, specifically technology changes such as automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics and globalization, including trade and outsourcing.

Attitudes toward mega-trends appear to have a bearing on work-related learning, with 65% of people worldwide saying they devote a significant amount of time each year to training on new skills to stay relevant in their jobs.

“As Kenya continues to become a hotbed of fast-paced innovation and disruption, we believe that organizations need to foster a culture of upskilling and re-skilling within their workforce. This is critical for avoiding skills gaps in the future and could provide them with a powerful competitive edge.” said Mills Schenck, Partner and Managing director for BCG’s Nairobi office.

“A number of large corporations and multinational companies are already reaping benefits from optimizing their training opportunities, and at BCG we place a huge emphasis on career development through internal and external trainings so that our employees can continually build their skillset.”

Substantial geographical differences exist in the amount of time that people spend on skill-building. Respondents who feel most affected by megatrends come from China, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya, and lead the way in time devoted to learning. By contrast, respondents in Western Europe and North America don’t invest as much time in developing their skills; Germany, France, UK, Canada, and the US are some of the more notable countries where residents are less willing to spend significant time on learning.

“The geographic differences in how much time people spend on learning are striking,” said Rainer Strack, a BCG senior partner and co-author of the report. “In Germany, only 38% of respondents spend a few weeks or more per year developing their skills, whereas in Kenya, the number is more than 75%. Companies and governments in countries where people are less willing to learn need to take a more active role to address this challenge and support continuous learning for their workforces.”

As part of the study, BCG and The Network polled 366,000 people in 197 countries to assess their awareness of how work is changing and their willingness to change along with it by learning new skills for their current position, known as upskilling, or by training on new skills for a completely different job, or reskilling.

“Both upskilling and reskilling are important ways to prepare for job changes, and we have seen some differences in how people apply these techniques,” said Pierre Antebi, managing director of The Network and a co-author of the report. “For example, people in services, administration, and manufacturing jobs are the most open to developing skills to switch jobs. On the other hand, respondents in high-skilled job roles like analytics, IT, and science are less open to reskilling for a new job but spend a lot of time developing skills to be better at their current field.”

Companies and governments should promote skill-building opportunities to help people prepare for the future and to avoid a two-tiered workforce in which some workers are ready for change and others are not. In addition, individuals must take charge of their own skills development to remain competitive in a fast-changing labor market, the report concludes.


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