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MasterStart South African workforce barometer

How are South Africans feeling about the work environment

How are South Africans feeling about the work environment?

What is the mood among South Africa’s workforce? How do we feel about the longevity of our careers? Do we feel equipped to evolve our skills and stay relevant? Is political and economic uncertainty taking its toll? Are we concerned that artificial intelligence may replace us? Follow us as we decode these interesting south African workforce statistics.

We commissioned research house imagineNATION Alliance to survey a diverse sample of over 1000 people to find out how South Africans are feeling about their employment prospectives.

The survey found that the overriding sentiment amongst our workforce is one of worry. Most respondents believed the job environment was tougher now (July 2018) than 10 years ago. The pace of change has changed. And our workforce is worried it won’t keep up. The findings reveal a workforce that’s looking for ways to future-proof itself. With Industry 4.0 a global hot topic, South Africa’s workforce is highly aware of artificial intelligence but doesn’t currently count it as the biggest threat to job retention.

Read the top 10 key findings from the survey here: MasterStart Workforce Barometer Report 2018.

The importance of lifelong learning

life long learning

They say ‘knowledge is power’, but what does this mean? Well progress, whether it be in life, in self, in one’s career, or in any other sphere of one’s existence, begins with education. If one does not know better, he cannot do better. Therefore, the man who knows more will forever be ahead of the man who has seized to invest in continuous learning.

Learning is certainly a prerequisite for growth and the catalyst for positive change, which is why we should never stop but instead see it as a lifelong journey.

It’s also important to note that learning is not confined to formal mediums of education such as university courses or short courses, for example. It also extends across informal mediums which offer valuable information that can assist you in various aspects of your life or career. These mediums include informative newsletters written by reputable sources; articles covering tips offered by industry experts or newspaper and brochure inserts, to name a few.

Here are just a few of the benefits of consistently nurturing your potential through investing in lifelong learning:

1. Become a leader in your field and stay ahead of the competition

Through making the choice to consistently brush up your knowledge of your particular industry, you’ll certainly find yourself in the pound seat – no pun intended. Keeping ahead of industry advancements, understanding new techniques; the modern day threats and the general movements within your field, will afford you the ability to make sound decisions within your role. Those who fail to enhance their skills and their knowledge will quickly find themselves falling behind – especially in a world where one’s value in the workplace is often measured by how much they know, how current their skills are, and whether or not they are able to adjust and remain versatile in the modern business environment.

2. Boost your earnings

Making learning a lifelong commitment will give you leverage over your competition, giving you a better chance of swiftly scaling the corporate ladder – or finding success as a business owner. As previously mentioned, those who know better, can do better. Those who are well-learned are able to make better decisions, are able to successfully implement modern strategies and techniques; and offer fresh new ideas based on their newly acquired knowledge and expertise; thus they are more likely of making a success of their endeavours. Employers seek out individuals who show competence in various areas within their role, and will invest in individuals who are likely to drive the business forward.

3. Build your self-confidence

Self-confidence is one of the main ingredients for success. Those who aren’t confident in their abilities usually end up self-sabotaging without even realising it. Unfortunately, this is usually because of an internal knowing that they could be better, and that there are likely many others that are ahead of them in terms of skill and education. Improving your expertise and skills will give you the self-confidence you need to progress through life, as well as in your career; as you won’t feel threatened by others, but rather feel confident in what you have to offer.

4. Make better decisions in the workplace

It’s a no-brainer that through gaining a better understanding of the intricacies that come with performing your role you’ll be able to make better decisions. This is exactly why they say knowledge is power. It gives you the tools you need to make decisions that are in the best interest of your objective.

5. Become a well-respected individual/employee

People look up to those who can teach them something – those who are skillful, smart and competent. This is partly due to the person’s charismatic confidence in their abilities, but also largely due to the fact that they’re inspiring pioneers.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to make the choice to invest in your abilities and nurture your potential. It’s always the right time to make transformational decisions, but since it’s spring; the month of renewal, rebirth and growth, why not make the choice today?

The benefits of lifelong learning

lifelong learning

Throughout life, we are taught the importance of improvement. From a young age, we would hear our teachers, coaches or parents saying ‘there’s room for improvement’, especially when we lost a match or scored an average mark in a test. Yet, even when we excelled, our superiors would remind us that to stay at the top we needed to continuously invest in our efforts. We can do this through lifelong learning.

This notion does not change when we reach adulthood; if anything, it becomes more significant. As working professionals, we are faced with a lot more competition than back then when we were competing for the school trophy. Now, we are competing against millions of competent, skilful individuals, who are just as deserving as us, to be selected for the ‘dream job’. That’s why to stand out from the crowd we need to be extraordinary.

How to become extraordinary

Today, employers are looking for people who not only come with the relevant qualifications and experience; but whose skills are up-to-date, and are aligned to the present day state of the industry. Organisations are constantly looking for ways to improve productivity and increase profitability, and individuals who are at the forefront of industry advancements are more likely to achieve this objective for them.

To be extraordinary, you need to commit to lifelong learning. Continuously developing your professional skills and expertise will ensure you stay relevant and attractive to organisations – even the one you currently work for. AT&T CEO and Chair, Randall Stephenson recently told the New York Times, “There is a need to retool yourself, and you should not expect to stop. People who do not spend five to ten hours a week learning will obsolete themselves with technology.”

The working world is a cut-throat, competitive environment; where one’s value is continuously questioned. Companies have limited financial resources and plenty of goals and objectives that need to be met. Individuals who lack knowledge of modern tools and techniques, and struggle to display essential technical know-how are not seen as valuable resources. This means individuals who have more to offer are the ones that’ll be hired; the ones that’ll be kept, and the ones that’ll be promoted.

Lifelong learning: an ‘ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated’ pursuit of knowledge.

Three ways you can stay on top of your game:

  1. – Invest in an industry-aligned short course:

    Many well-known universities offer short courses – some even online. Short courses add immense value to one’s CV, and of course ones skill-set. This is because they’re usually created based on the current industry practices, and the content is updated on a regular basis. Short courses are a great way to stay abreast of industry developments and prove that you’re a lifelong learner.

  2. – Attend skill-building workshops and seminars:

    Workshops and seminars are a great way to stay informed of your industries advancements, or updated regulatory requirements. These gatherings can also help you to improve your soft skills, as well as strengthen your network in the field in which you practice.

  3. – Invest in informational content

    Although reading and conducting research on your industry is a great way to stay ahead, it still doesn’t prove that you have invested in your career potential, and strengthening your skills. However, it will enable you to refine your immediate knowledge of the industry, and the general developments taking place currently.

Benefits of lifelong learning

Other than improving your skills and investing in yourself, lifelong learning has the potential to boost your career. The benefits of lifelong learning include:

1. An increased chance of landing a well-paying job
2. Heightened security within your current role (avoid retrenchment)
3. An increased chance of being granted a promotion
4. Broadening your network in your respective industry
5. Being seen as a valuable employee within the organisation, and the industry as a whole

“The day you stop learning is the day you stop living. We should all pick up new skills, ideas, viewpoints, and ways of working every day.”
– Richard Branson