We hear a lot about Africa’s ‘talent gap’ these days. Employers complain that graduates are not fit for the work place while fast-growing companies struggle to find the talent they need to scale. We also know that companies need better training solutions – more practical, and less expensive.
AMI’s latest report ‘Training Talent’ took a deeper look at training needs among companies in Kenya and across Africa most broadly. The results were sometimes surprising.
Like in many Africa markets, Kenyan companies have traditionally focused their training budgets on technical and functional skills, while leadership or management training has targeted more senior executives. What’s more, training has previously been seen as a luxury for larger companies, with cash-strapped SMEs too focused on the next sale to invest in developing their people.
But that’s starting to change. Our research shows that the demand for company training among Kenyan companies is greatest for job entrants, and junior to middle managers. This is an exciting trend, because it shifts investment to the heart of a company – to the engine room that drives growth.
To understand Africa’s skill gap better, AMI conducted a survey  in 2016 with Kenya’s leading body for human resource professionals, the IHRM. In it we asked 136 Kenyan HR professionals where in their organisation the greatest need for training was. The top priority was training new employees, with an average rating of 7.15/10. This was followed quite closely (in order) by middle management at 6.93, junior managers/supervisors at 6.89, then frontline staff and senior managers at a rating below 6. Specialists and top management (C-suite) development was rated lower in priority.
When asked about their current training offering, respondents felt that most training is too theoretical. Finally, when asked about the highest barriers to workplace learning, respondents cited cost and lack of top management commitment.
What do you think? Do these findings reflect your experience, and the experience of your business? Where are the training gaps in your organisation? Does your company need to invest more in entry level and junior/middle manager training, instead of the traditional approach of keeping training for senior managers, or technical/functional skills? Do you find most training solutions are too expensive, or too theoretical? Please share your experiences in the comment section.
To learn more about AMI’s practical and affordable approach to learning for middle managers and entry-level staff, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +254 20 525 9561 (Kenya) and +27 11 568 2664 (South Africa)