The unemployment rate among youth in South Africa continues to climb. Picture: Dumisani Dube/ Independent Media Archives

JOHANNESBURG – The official unemployment rate for South Africa at 27 percent is among the highest in the world therefore jobs to stimulate economic growth is one of the most important tasks facing our developing nation and its one that many manufacturers are committed to.

All over the world, economists have been lamenting the loss of manufacturing jobs because this sector is known to be an important economic contributor, particularly in developing countries.

The establishment of manufacturing plants not only creates jobs, but it creates an opportunity for unemployed people to become a part of the economy. It also results in much-need skills development as well as lower prices of the products being manufactured.

The importance of human capital

Investing in skills development is as beneficial to the organisation as it is to the individual. It’s about grooming and shaping employees into leaders while also giving them the platform to learn new skills.

Business has transformed dramatically in recent years with companies now operating in uncertain times due to a multitude of disruptors, which include keeping up with evolving technological trends while encouraging brand loyalty amongst customers.

In its 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, “The Rise of the Social Enterprise”, Deloitte conducted an in-depth examination of how certain factors are impacting on human capital. According to the report, human capital is inextricably tied to social capital and this demands a fundamental pivot in how organisations do business today, and how they prepare for the human capital challenges of the future.

The report says the most sustainable investment is people because they think, adapt, invent and change. People are resilient and come up with smart ideas that change the world. More than 11,000 executives from 124 countries participated in the global survey, including 354 South African business and HR leaders.

Although measuring leadership potential is critical to a healthy pipeline, few organisations are getting it right because they don’t appreciate why accurately measuring employees’ potential matters. It’s vitally important because it puts high-potential candidates in the pipeline earlier; it captures potential leaders who sometimes slip through the cracks; it creates a stronger talent pool; and it builds benchmarks through systematic measurement that can predict future success in specific contexts.

Many South African business leaders operate with very traditional mindsets. As companies transform and digital organisational models emerge, leaders need to evolve as well to manage across cultural, demographic and organisational boundaries.

LG is committed to building a great South Africa

In 2011, LG Electronics setup a manufacturing plant in South Africa that would benefit the community in many ways. Just seven years later, the plan supports 84 full-time employees, providing an opportunity to learn new skills at one of the world’s most innovative companies.

The Johannesburg-based manufacturing plant’s production line up starts with 22-inch monitors up to an 86-inch UHD TV. This particular TV is the latest addition to the ever-improving advancements in production. The LG’s local facility also manufactures multi-display commercial, signage and gaming monitors.

The variety of goods manufactured locally means that people are up-skilled throughout their careers, given the continuous opportunity to learn new processes and specialization of duties in specific sections of production.

LG also runs annual global training programs, which involves local leadership employees being sent to LG plants in other countries to gain experience and knowledge that they then share with their colleagues upon their return.

While the plant in South Africa has resulted in much-needed jobs and skills development, it has also given the opportunity to local employees to be part of a global brand synonymous with quality and exceptional products. 

CY Kim is managing director at LG Electronics South Africa.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Independent Media.

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