How Technology is Creating New Jobs for South Africans

Without a doubt, the epidemic has hastened most digitalization trends, compressing what would have taken years into months.

Even the most cloud-sceptical CEO, for example, praised technology’s capacity to assure business continuity as we rapidly switched to a remote workplace.

However, given South Africa’s recent unemployment rates and sluggish GDP, it’s understandable that people are concerned about the impact of digitization on job availability.

According to Statistics South Africa, unemployment rates in the first quarter of 2021 were at a record high of 32.6%, with a rate of a staggering 46.3% among people aged 15 to 34 years old.

However, digitization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will generate more jobs than they will eliminate. According to The Future of Work in South Africa, a McKinsey analysis, digitization might result in a net gain of over one million jobs in the country by 2030.

Furthermore, according to the study, technology adoption may double South Africa’s productivity, double per capita income growth, and add more than a percentage point to the country’s real GDP over the next ten years.

And the funny thing is, we’re already seeing this potential, with enormous skills shortages in key areas that will drive and sustain digitization initiatives.

Despite the rapid acceleration of digitisation, businesses must look for more sustainable solutions to integrate their systems through automation. This method adds a third option for completing tasks: the digital worker. Digital employees, also known as robotic process automation (RPA), excel at tasks that humans aren’t particularly excellent at and don’t particularly love.

Things like precise data entry or adhering to certain, but tedious, online processes. So, undoubtedly, human workers will be displaced from boring, repetitive professions by digital labour. They do, however, provide options.

Legacy Assets (Sweat)

Because digital workers interact with systems in the same way that humans do, there is less of a need to update old infrastructure to accelerate transformation.
Extending the life of legacy infrastructure while gaining the benefits of integrated digitisation saves money and boosts productivity.

Boost Productivity

The benefits of increased productivity are numerous.
Removing friction from operations that appear to be digital but are manual behind the scenes improves the customer experience and satisfies customer expectations for a truly digital experience.
Furthermore, digital workers can complete these tedious, monotonous activities significantly faster and for far longer than humans, resulting in increased volumes and reduced backlogs.

Business Models that are Different

Intelligent automation (RPA powered by AI) allows digital workers to replicate human behaviours more accurately using techniques like machine learning (ML) and optical character recognition (OCR), laying the groundwork for new digital business models, goods, and services that are supplied at speed and scale.

Not only individual procedures, but end-to-end automation throughout the entire organization now opens up additional possibilities and improves alignment with strategic business goals, including increased productivity and better customer experience.

Higher productivity and innovative business models fuel growth and job creation in related industries: increased e-commerce volumes, for example, necessitate additional warehouse pickers and delivery employees. In addition, new occupations are produced, as well as greater opportunities for humans.

Contact centre agents may retrain to manage a fleet of thousands of digital workers, boosting efficiency and productivity while also putting them on the path to management. Process identification and opportunity evaluation, creating and implementing automation, connecting between the business and IT, and scheduling and allocating work for digital workers are among several new skills required.

Another pattern we’re seeing is that whenever companies are ready to scale their automation across the board – giving business units the flexibility to run with the automation they need for optimum impact – they’re having trouble finding the right people to fill these new roles.

Yes, digitization will inevitably replace as well as generate jobs, with the total result being an increase in employment. Governments, the tech industry, enterprises, entrepreneurs, and citizens must all work together to guarantee that these openings are filled with qualified candidates.


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Sodiq Ajala
Sodiq Ajala
Co-founder, Tech with Africa. Tech SEO | Website Auditing, Content Marketing, Copywriting, Data Analytics | I help businesses use content & technical muse to increase sales rates by 75%.

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