NEW COURSE LAUNCHED: Human Resource Skills for People Managers with Wits Business School  View Course | WhatsApp

South Africans are concerned about their working futures

south africans are concerned about job security and employability

The economic and political situation in South Africa has all of her citizens concerned about their job security, especially in the years to come. A research report conducted by MasterStart reveals that a mere 23.8% of working South Africans believe that their current skills will keep them employed in ten years time. One undeniable fact about all South Africans is that we are resourceful, intuitive and most of all survivors. It’s exciting to see that our people are taking initiative, and finding new ways for staying relevant in a world where change occurs almost daily.

Adapt with technology

Technological advancements including artificial intelligence and robotic process automation have the majority of South Africans looking for a way to future-proof their careers. In a survey of over one-thousand people, the MasterStart workforce barometer uncovered a very real statistic. That was 95% of people agreed lifelong learning is the key to retaining relevancy in their chosen field.

A word from the CEO

Andrew Johnston, Former CEO of MasterStart says, “Our workforce is clearly concerned, but positively, our research revealed that people are aware that frequent upskilling and reskilling will aid them in remaining relevant and employable. Especially in a country where unemployment is an ongoing issue, it’s imperative that we empower people to future-proof their careers by making lifelong learning opportunities continuously accessible.”

The Raw Reality

Did you know that it is estimated that artificial intelligence could boost global Gross Domestic Profit by as much as $15-trillion by the year 2030? That’s a whopping injection into the world economy. Aim to be a part of this dynamic movement, with technology that helps make our lives and jobs easier, it is still imperative that we keep ahead of the curve, in order to stay relevant.

Today is the biggest challenge

It’s really tough out there; 80% of people surveyed believe that it is far more difficult to find employment, as opposed to ten years ago.

Factors to consider today

In today’s day and age, there are numerous aspects to consider in the South African workforce. If we zoom into it; macro and micro factors seem to be at the core of the current employment situation in South Africa.

The most talked about and obvious being the political and economic climate of the country. Increased competition, where even online businesses are starting to become over saturated making it difficult to stand out. Fewer employment opportunities and rapid change have also been noted as a hindrance to growth and development within the job market.

IT and technology jobs are seen as the most secure

It’s actually quite ironic that IT and technology-related jobs are viewed as the most secure amongst South Africans since these very industries are responsible for decreasing the demand for human engagement in the workplace. Our survey noted that 30% of IT and tech employees felt supremely confident in their skills and relevance moving forward into the future, or at the very least for the next ten years.

Don’t let age hinder your career prospects

Many of the survey participants claimed that their age and lack of skills were their biggest barriers to gaining meaningful employment, especially for people over the age of fifty. It is interesting to note that people from twenty-four up to the age of thirty-four listed a lack of skills as the most prohibiting factor in securing employment.

Recognise, Retain and Nurture Talent

Large companies need to take the lead. Corporations can help by becoming apart of the solution. By investing in their staffs’ education, they are able to upskill their employees to help them stay relevant in a world that is constantly changing and adapting to technological needs. The reality is not all managers are equipped to deal with people on a human level.

If you recognise this, it could be beneficial for your business to upskill managers on people skills. A short course in human resource management from MasterStart may just be the answer you have been looking for. Likewise, there are various courses on offer for any employee wishing to stay relevant in the modern age. The key to staying relevant and a cut above the rest is lifelong learning. This short-course will help you stay at the top of your chosen field, now, and far into the future.


It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

Even with the glum statistics and the current recession South Africa has slipped into, rest assured there is still hope on the horizon. Its uplifting to see that 80% of survey respondents were planning to study further in the future. Studying further allows you to not only enrich yourself but enrich your company. The majority of companies love employees who take the initiative to study further and enhance their skill set.

Look to study online

Studying online courses can help you receive that promotion that you have been yearning for, followed by a hefty salary increase. You owe it to yourself to stay relevant, which will ultimately result in a more diverse set of skills making you less irreplaceable, higher motivation levels and improved communication skills, which allow you to form long and lasting relationships with your company.

Johnston concludes, “Given the competitiveness of the market – which will only increase with the rise of automation – having a sought-after skillset is the best way to guarantee ongoing job retention.  This means using online learning tools to get to grips with AI and RPA in order to build on efficiency and one’s overall value-add in a business.”

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


Introducing: Grant Evans

operations management course

Meet The man Behind operational models to mitigate the risk of wind loss for wind farms through an insurance vehicle. Grant Evans is a professional in operations management and operations management principles. He has distilled his practical working skills, and applied them to numerous operations projects for increased business value.

1. What is the highlight of your career?

a. Building a financial model to mitigate the risk of wind loss for wind farms through an insurance vehicle. South Africa has seen an exponential growth in new wind farms of late due to the power shortage crisis which the national power provider has been experiencing. In order to do this, the model needed to forecast the wind patterns in terms of speed and direction. The model also simulated equipment failure.

b. Building a forecasting model for a national call centre of short-term loans. The model seeks to predict the daily and hourly movements in the number and type of calls, in order to better deploy call centre staff to the various business units.

2. How is operations management different in start-ups vs well-established companies? 

In start-ups the emphasis is on the speed you can get from plan A to a plan that works (an adage from Running Lean). Gone are the days where we spend huge amounts of time and resources on designing the perfect business and then implementing to plan. In start-ups it’s about coming up with a problem to solve, swiftly taking the product to market, and then working out if you were on the money or not. It has a lot to do with talking to your clients and identifying what value means to them. This phase of a business sees the operations changing drastically and quickly to accommodate the change in product/customer fit.

With larger companies, the product is usually well-established so there is less emphasis on finding out what the client actually wants, and more on finding efficient ways of delivering your product. This phase sees fewer changes, but more focused internally. There is usually more investment here in time and motion studies, or forecasting model building, etc.

3. Any tips or advice for those starting their careers in operations management?

It requires a person who inherently is a problem-solving kind of person. I believe a desire to succeed is half the battle won, and then you upskill to become better at it. In operations management, you need to be interested in continuously identifying things that could be done better. You need to be logical, as most of the solutions require it. Lastly, don’t shy away from the mathematics. It is used in much of the application of operations management and is a powerful tool.

4. What book are you currently reading? Or what is your favourite thing to do to take a break from the everyday hustle?

I am a sad puppy. For fun, I work on my Forex trading robot. I only read books to study. Currently, I am studying Neural Networks for artificial intelligence application. I don’t read to experience an emotion I have felt before, but to gain knowledge I never had before. To really zone out I write music with my nephew.

5. And finally, what is the one thing you can tell us about yourself that we won’t find on your resume?

My psychologist assured me that was confidential…seriously, I don’t have any one thing that stands out. I am a member of Mensa. I like mountain biking and Tai Chi. My wife and family are what it is all for.

Grant is a serial entrepreneur and university lecturer. He specialises in Operations Research, Business Analytics, Statistics, Information Technology, and Finance. Outside of this, and when he is not studying towards his Doctorate in Business Gamification, he is also a professional musician as lead singer and bass player in a band.

study operations management  online

A balanced life: work and study

work life balance

As people, we have an innate drive within us to succeed and better ourselves. This is especially true when it comes to our career. Whether you are looking to study to get that promotion or secure your next job, increase your earning potential or job security, a balance of work and study is key.

But we are often stuck when it comes to the conundrum of how do I study to develop the skills needed to remain relevant and keep the job that supports me and/or my family. While studying part-time at an institution might give you that flexibility; studying part-time online, through a recognised online education provider like MasterStart, allows you more flexibility and freedom. You decided where your study room is and you are not locked into study times. People in Africa are recognising this and taking steps towards upskilling themselves. The Ambient Insight report – “The Africa Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 2011-2016 Forecast and Analysis.” recognises Africa as the most self-motivated eLearning market in the world.

4 tips to balance work and study

We have come up with 4 tips to help you balance it all because as Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can or can’t… you are right”

  • Develop a plan of attack

Are you the type of person who completes studies as soon as you can or do you believe slow and steady wins the race? The great thing about online is that you know the course length and have the coursework. Assess how many free hours you have in a day/week against how many hours a week you will need to complete the course.

  • Set deadlines

Draw up a calendar and update it first with your work deadlines then add the deadlines, as outlined by your course modules. With your calendar in front of you. You can move around deadlines that are more flexible in accordance with your work commitments and your hours per day/week you can afford to study.

  • Don’t forget to work smart, not just hard

When completing assignments think of your real-world work examples and take advantage of this, as it will flow naturally from you. Write little study notes or placards and take them along with you for short study intervals instead of long study sessions. Another great trick is to record yourself saying your notes and listening to them while working.

  • Sacrifice

Hobbies and free weekends may have to take a back step to your commitment to self-growth, at first this may be hard. Yet, it is important to remember why you are doing this. It can become overwhelming at times but you need to focus on your goals and deadlines. You wouldn’t be working and studying simultaneously if you did not have good reasons.

MasterStart offers great short courses aimed at developing you and your career.

Visit to realise the leader within you.