There’s a war for skills in South Africa: Capitec CEO

There’s a war for skills in South Africa: Capitec CEO

South Africa is seeing a war for talent as banks, retailers and other businesses are fighting to hire from a very limited talent pool, says Capitec Bank chief executive officer Gerrie Fourie.

Fourie said that this is most keenly felt in highly-technical professions such as data science and IT workers.

“This is being fueled by people saying they are now working from home and overseas. It’s quite easy to work in London but you actually sit in South Africa, so I think there will be quite a war for talent,” he said.

The banking chief executive added that Capitec aims to fill several hundred positions over the next few months.

“During the past year, 1,367 new employees were hired with 26% of new hires fulfilling critical IT and data business development needs. Despite the pandemic, the business continues to grow and invest in its people and has already started recruiting top talent to fill 500 new positions this year,” he said.

“We are also passionate about empowering and upskilling our staff through education, workshops and mentorship. This has resulted in 48% of our available positions being filled internally,” Fourie said. “We reward our staff for living our fundamentals and driving client-centricity through personal service and digital solutions.”

The positions Capitec plans to fill over the next few months, range from jobs for graduates to senior professionals, and include:

  • Data science;
  • Machine learning;
  • Digital payments experts;
  • Software developers.

Fourie added that he expects working from home to become a permanent fixture at South African businesses, but that a balance will be required.

He said that it was largely impossible to be 100% in the office or 100% at home, with employees likely to split their time between the two going forward.

“Programming and task-based employees can largely work from home, but those responsible for leading and managing people must still primarily be in the office.”

Fourie added that ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ interactions with people at the office were still valuable for the work environment and that some recent Capitec hires had noticeably lost out on this experience due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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