New dynamics call for new skills in job market
Brighter Monday CEO, Emmanuel Mutuma explains the changing forces in employment, especially in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Harriet James @harriet86jim
Nearly 1.72 million workers have lost their job as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, which made companies unable to pay workers or support the wage bill, research by Kenya National Bureau Statistics has shown.
The youth, in particular, have been hard hit in an economy where most industries have ceased employment due to sluggish earnings.
People aged 20-29 account for approximately 63 per cent of jobs losses, with 17 per cent representing those aged 35-60.
Such a crisis has made online job platforms such as Brighter Monday, vital in connecting talent with opportunities in the market.
According to Emmanuel Mutuma, the CEO, industries such as hospitality have seen a total disruption while others such as healthcare, deliveries, IT and logistics have been affected positively.
“From the skills point of view, we have seen essential services sector growing.
The most important skills are digital marketing since consumers are interacting differently with organisations.
To connect with them, companies have to be on top of the game when it comes to such skills,” he notes.
Disruptions in many organisations has also affected hiring, which has gone digital and staff can be accessed from whatever part of the world, provided they can access the internet. Cloud computing or remote work too has also emerged.
“We are going to be more data driven and objective in making decisions. When they make losses, for instance, organisations will employ data to understand where they have gone wrong,” explains Mutuma.
He adds that people should have skills in data analysis as it will be the next job opportunity.
The government will also need to implement data protection laws that were passed last year.
“Cyber security to protect networks is another skill that will be required. More people will be looking at having a smaller space and cutting costs on rent.
They might have a smaller office and rotate on who comes to the office, when and how,” adds Mutuma.
Since work will be mostly remote, companies need a strong culture, which will drive individuals to carry out duties without supervision.
“Your staff should not only understand, but also implement the company’s vision wherever they are working from.
We are shifting towards such accountability and, this time round, policing staff will not work if you want to get the job done.
The organisation should have a common goal that defines them no matter where their staff is and should leave employees to do the best they can to deliver expected output in their own way,” he explains.
Those seeking employment or are employed need to be digital savvy and have skills such as performance marketing where one has an understanding in purchasing Facebook ads, search engine optimisation, and mobile based applications creation, especially for software developers.
“If you are a sales person, add skills such as being a tele-sales person, where great convincing skill is required even more compared to traditional face-to-face interactions,” he says.
In his time as the CEO, Mutuma has witnessed a number of mistakes people make when sending CV.
“People are desperately looking for opportunities, so we find candidates applying for jobs that don’t match their profile.
This has been the biggest challenge as applications employers get are increasing, but relevance is an issue.
That’s why as Brighter Monday, we introduced the proficiency assessment tool which examines core competencies and knowledge of performing a certain job,” says Mutuma.
With the tool, when candidates apply for a specific job, they are taken through a simulation of questions, and the relevant employer gets to judge whether they are viable or not based on their response.
They have also developed an Applicant Tracking System, which allows hiring managers to view a candidate’s scores alongside other filters such as education and experience levels.
This way hiring managers can compare a candidate’s proficiency, qualifications and experience levels at a glance.
The digital enthusiast believes skill gap has made it impossible for organisations to retain talent.
He advises organisations to set up structures that enable them to meet objectives and to take a step back and understand their strength and weaknesses.
Companies face challenges since they lack ability to identify correct staff to drive their goals, resulting in firing as staff is not meeting profitability they promised shareholders.
If the organisation is thriving, there is no way they can let anyone go.
What about millenials?
“Our research in Kenya discovered millennials want flexibility in terms of working hours and arrangements; it’s about productivity and feeling engaged,” says Mutuma.
The research indicates by today, millennials will represent 50 per cent of the entire workforce globally.
They are tech-savvy, digital natives, and possess a can-do attitude. They are diverse, global citizens, entrepreneurial, multi-taskers and risk takers.
They are not fond of rigid working environments either, are productivity-oriented and are the most connected generation in history.
“They want to have a sense of ownership of the vision, how well they fit into it and how they can improve and make it better.
They don’t want to be put into clerical repetitive tasks as they will be bored easily. They also want to get written feedback.
They don’t want the traditional annual appraisals where a bonus might be given at the end of every year, but want instant weekly, monthly or even daily feedback so they know their position within and value they bring into the system.
The pandemic is a blessing to the millennial because it’s in line with what makes them productive since they want to try out different things, but also want to be productive at work while flexible,” Mutuma explains.