Telecom companies need to innovate continuously to face growing competition in Africa. Moreover, given the speed at which technology is advancing, and the diversification of sectors that represent strong growth drivers for these operators (health, agriculture, insurance, banking, etc.) these operators must attract very strong profiles, who may be talents from the diaspora or Africans living in developped countries an working in that particular field.
In recent years, African startups invested ingeniously in developping telecom tools to simplify people’s lives by solving previously complex problems such as: creating applications for health, electronic payment, remote monitoring, insurance, savings, data transmission and information tools etc.
Right After agriculture comes the telecommunications sector which is the second largest employer in Africa. The difficulty of attracting and retaining sharp profiles in areas such as datascience, cybersecurity, project management, architecture systems, etc … represents a significant threat that can be addressed in different ways:
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- training: today with MOOCs (massive online courses), the best training programs in the world have become accessible to all and free of charge. This is a great opportunity for telecom employees who can get online trainings to keep up to date with the latest technologies. Another benefit of this is that talent can evolve more quickly. A group like Google understood, at a very early stage, the need to allow their talents to get online trainings and at the same time work on projects where they would have an opportunity to put those newly acquired skills in use for the greater good of both parties.
- intra-African mobility: as telecom operators in Africa are often subsidiaries of multinationals, there is a high degree of mobility among managers and technicians to fill a growing skills gap. The Orange operator, for example, has developed a Talent sharing concept which consists in setting up a system of internal transfers through contracts that take up seniority, and of course, provide periods of testing. This represents a real stepping stone to a career because people who return home after a period of mobility between 18 and 24 months are given greater responsibilities.
- elaborating action plans to attract talent who are at a stage in their career where they are wondering what opportunities are available to them in Africa. This option seems to be preferred by operators because it is faster and more efficient. As the issue of attracting talent is recurrent, it seems indeed necessary to set up annual strategies that make it possible to meet immediate recruitment needs, but also those to come in the medium and long term in order to anticipate needs, to achieve optimal management and planning of talent acquisition.
In general, there is a growing and complex “talent war” in the continent because the attractive package is no longer sufficient, other issues come into play. Businesses and human resources departments, in particular, must question themselves in order to have a new HR vision that corresponds to the challenges of the job market, which is becoming more and more global. This new trend also calls for agility / flexibility as the employee-employer relationship becomes permanently renewable. The new generation of employees is no longer basing its entire career in just one field. We must therefor be aware of the fact that the relationship must be a win-win situtation so that it can last and this new deal seems irreversible considering the fact that there are 12 million young graduates arriving every year on the African labor market. And it is most likely that they will be 50 million by 2050.