Muniu Thoithi, partner and advisory services leader, East Africa region, PwC and Peter Ngahu, Eastern Africa region senior partner, PwC Kenya during a past event. [PHOTO – COURTESY]

 A  chief financial officers’ ( CFOs)  survey conducted by PwC on ‘New World, New Skills’ based on the work-related new realities caused by the Covid-19 pandemic cites that the said  professionals  are  focusing  more on making their organizations  agile in order  to find new opportunities and ways of working. The survey established that 68% of Africa’s CFOs are in need of accelerating their plans for automation. By the same token, 63% CFOs globally are aiming at offering new or enhanced products or services for building revenue streams.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put pressure on jobs and training, besides accelerating e-commerce.  In addition, it has digitized the way of working, leading to structural changes in the economy. The survey further indicates that working from home will still represent a key feature with 52% of the CFOs aiming to make remote work a permanent option. 75% on the other hand say increased flexibility developed during the pandemic will strengthen their organizations more as they face the future.

According to Muniu Thoithi – PwC East Africa advisory lead :  “The current workforce is in dire need of nurturing agility, being able to change and adapt to the new realities and re-skilling whereby they will be able to sharpen their skills in order to remain relevant in the workforce and in business. Workers and leaders are now more than ever aware of the impact that automation and technology will have on them and their business.”

The automation and digitization of the workforce will not only alter jobs, but their number and perceived value whereby talent on creativity, innovation and imagination will be prioritized.  Adaptability will be a key proponent of all this. According to the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, nearly 4.64 million people were jobless at the end of June 2020, up from 2.94 million at the end of March 2020. Indeed, Kenya’s unemployment rate increased by 10.4% because of the pandemic.

The PwC survey further illustrates that workers are worried about their future, creating pressure on government and businesses. About 55% are worried about automation or other innovations taking their job, 60% think fewer people will have stable, long-term employment in the future, while    30% of the current jobs are at high risk of being displaced by automation by 2030.

Some of the industries to be affected by automation include:  transport and storage, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, finance and insurance, human health, social work and education. The World Economic Forum (WEF) 2019 indicated that work landscape is changing and by 2022, around 75 million roles will be in decline since 133 million people will need new career paths enforced by the digitization of the workforce. Workers have not given up with at least 74% willing and ready to embark on a new skill or train further in order to remain employable in the future. If offered training by their employers, the workers are willing to commit two days per month on training to upgrade their skills.



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