There needs to be a corporation between employers requiring the skills and the institutions delivering them. Picture: Eric Risberg.
There needs to be a corporation between employers requiring the skills and the institutions delivering them. Picture: Eric Risberg.

How to reduce the skills gap between graduates and employers

By Dieketseng Maleke Time of article published Sep 13, 2021

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Graduate unemployment remains a reality for many South Africans.

The most recent figures from Statistics South Africa show that the graduate unemployment rate reached 32.6% in the first three months of 2021.

One of the reasons for the high unemployment rate is the skills gap between what graduates are learning at university and skills that are required in the job market.

Jonathan Goldberg, joint chief executive at Global Business Solutions, said there was a “complete skills gap” between higher training facilities and the labour market.

Speaking to Business Report, Goldberg said, there were few employers who were directly involved with universities in designing and reviewing the curriculum.

"There’s a huge gap, there has always been, but now more than ever. There needs to be co-operation between employers requiring the skills and the institutions delivering them," Goldberg said.

“Many colleges today should be run by employers in a local area. For example, why there are no colleges around the Pretoria district where there are auto manufactures and colleges run by them, to produce skills and talent for the future?“ he asked.

Goldberg added that if companies were directly involved with higher learning institutions on what skills they wanted from graduates, that would also help close the gap.

According to a report released by The Global Skills Gap in the 21st Century report in 2019, employers in Africa and the Middle East were dissatisfied with the creativity of graduates.

The report said employers in Africa and the Middle East were also the most satisfied with the technical skills of the graduates they hire and regard the ability to work in a team as crucially important.

The survey revealed that employers put emphasis on soft skills, and said the emphasis suggests that graduates may be overlooking essential soft skills development when undertaking their degree.

The report lists the top five most important skills for employers globally as problem-solving, teamwork, communication, adaptability and interpersonal skills.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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