The debate has been on about the runaway unemployment rates in Uganda and generally in Africa. Hundreds of thousands of graduates are released from higher institutions of learning but most of them fail to get jobs yet employers insist they cannot find people to employ. So where is the mismatch? Job Mart explores the issue
A recent study revealed something interesting. In 2017, Fuzu, an online career development platform, looked at 30,000 job adverts that ran on the platform and separated this out into three sets of data. The report looked at the percentage of jobs in a certain industry, the total number of postings and percentage of applicants for roles within those jobs.
This was to establish the simple equation of supply and demand to better inform both job seekers and employers where the biggest mismatch was happening. This was the skill gap analysis. Fuzu also collected data from their user base as well as job seekers over a 12-month period to gain deeper understanding of the skills gap at different levels.
The data set shows that information segmented into job seekers with less than two years experience, two to seven years and seven years and above. This data was collected from 160,000 job seekers.
Young job seekers
For junior roles (less than two years experience), sales strategy, marketing, customer service, market research intelligence and product knowledge had the biggest opportunities. Sales strategy, a top skill employers search for, presented only in 3% of job seekers, even though 15% of the job openings on the platform asked for this specific skill.
It is clear that these are the skills that employers find the most desirable yet prove the hardest to recruit for. Employers no longer simply seek out people with sales knowledge, but also those with a firm grasp of customer management software such as Salesforce.
Organisations seek people who can grow their business with native knowledge such as old school sales principles with an understanding of the digital sphere within which they operate.
The same is true for marketing research intelligence, which had a 4% gap with 7% of campaigns listing it and product knowledge at a 3% gap. For the job seeker just starting out with nothing but time to build on new skills, this is valuable information. The Fuzu platform includes free courses to help people upskill.
This information relates here as the jobs that showed up the most in campaigns fell in the business, strategic and project management categories. Business and strategic management appeared in 5% of the campaigns, but only received 3% of applicants.
For project management, incidences of this category were at 12% with an application rate of just 7%. For leadership, it appeared in 3% of the campaigns, but received about 1% of the applications. It is a clear indicator for anyone building their career currently that these areas are where the opportunities are.
Lots of jobs, few people
There is an interesting trend when it comes to jobs around leadership and some variation of strategic roles. In our skill gap analysis, we found that the higher employees move up the chain (more than four years experience), the less the work becomes about their job specific roles and the more it does about running projects and long term strategy planning.
The older job seeker with between two and seven years of experience needs to start thinking about the conception and implementation of projects. The three most valuable skills presenting the largest skill gaps in this particular data set were project management, monitoring and evaluation and research planning. There is a strong emphasis for people at this level on the ability of employees to strategically see large projects through as is defined within their roles.
Skills gap in junior seeker
At the seven-plus mark, the skills gap present not much differently. Experts and managers might have more administrative roles to fill, but their capacity to lead projects in a more strategic manner is of greater value. No surprises here as the top skills employers are seeking project monitoring and evaluation, with a skill gap of 14%, business strategy with a gap of 18% and only 7% and 10% of job seekers with these skills respectively.
For the senior job seeker, (two to seven years) much more role specific skills become less important, but more about seeing a project to its finish while executing the company’s vision. This job seeker is likely to find more value in focusing on upskilling with courses that place great emphasis on leadership of teams with varying sizes.
Soft skills are simply fluff
Interestingly, soft skills such as communication and public speaking are no longer considered a bonus assets in job seekers. Employers expect them to possess the skills. These core soft skills did not rank in the top 10 desired skills and rightly so because employers want tangible, role specific skills.
Areas where there is an even stream of job seekers and employers looking for them were sales and marketing, engineering, customer support and legal. Here, the numbers of job campaigns and applicants was pretty even, showing that this is where job seekers are least likely to face the most frustration and employers have access to a wide talent pool. But, for job seekers, these areas should be approached with caution when planning career because they stand the risk of eventually becoming saturated industries, especially where acquiring the degree may not be as time intensive.
The big opportunities
So what are the big jobs where employers have the hardest time recruiting? They are data analysis, budgeting and financial planning, business development and sales strategy. All skills that require the ability to delve deep, sell and think ahead. As for organisations, the focus should zoom in on hiring practices that prioritise building healthy cultures with the right type of talent.
Making sense of it all
For job seekers who have graduated and are not entertaining any thoughts of returning to school for yet another degree, there are a couple of options. The data in here shows where the highest demand is and any of these skills can be learned online. Fuzu is not a singular functioning platform that understands these needs asking users to create career goals, understand themselves better through personality tests and even getting feedback on job applications.
In the end
It is easy to spot the areas for big opportunities, especially for junior professionals who are building their careers in leadership, strategic management and project development. Upskilling for young job seekers may be the key to success later. For others who find themselves trained for industries such as sales, the advice is the same — upskill to more operational abilities that run projects rather than individuals.