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The Africa Business Agenda: Workforce Perspective 2023 focuses on the perspectives of 282 sub-Saharan Africa CEOs who participated in PwC’s 26th Annual Global CEO Survey. We analyse the survey results related to the workforce on the continent - the diverse skill levels, cultural backgrounds, experiences in Africa which are expected to play a critical role in driving economic growth in future.
Workforce is at the centre of all organisational strategies
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organisations focussed on being “fit for crisis” and today many are refocusing their strategies to be “fit for growth”. One such strategy across industries is reducing operating costs but at the same time several CEOs are considering strategies to spur revenue generation through identifying new revenue generating streams, products or services. And to achieve these strategies, CEOs have realised that the workforce can be a detractor or a multiplier to the achievement of such a strategy. To put these statistics into perspective: 69% of CEOs are considering cutting operating costs whilst only 13% are considering reducing compensation and 16% considering workforce reduction. It goes to show that CEOs will act cautiously when it comes to their people.
Leadership in economic uncertainty
In Africa and globally, economic uncertainty is forcing companies to take stock of their strategies, operations and goals. In navigating the current economic climate, CEOs have identified key themes that are important to leadership: the need for agility and resilience, and the impact of changing workforce dynamics. Business reinvention will be front of mind for executives and as a result both transformative and adaptive leadership strategies are emerging.
Organisations moving towards a skills based foundation - According to PwC’s 26th Annual Global CEO Survey, 45% of CEOs in sub-Saharan Africa and 52% globally believe that skills shortages will impact profitability in the industry over the next ten years. Many organisations are adopting a liquid model and allowing all employees, regardless of their level or job title, to contribute to the strategy of the organisation and share ideas to drive innovative change.
Promoting diversity and inclusion within the workforce
A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion — both in an organisation and in a community — brings purpose to a business, ignites commitment in the workforce and benefits society. Among CEOs in Africa, 23% are concerned that income inequality, gender inequality, racial and ethnic disparities will pose threats in the next five years. Bridging the gender inequality divide is a top priority for CEOs - organisations are becoming increasingly conscious of embracing a diverse and talented workforce, promoting women to take on leadership roles. Although conceited strides in the correct direction have been made - there is still more to be done.
Organisations can embrace diversity and inclusion in their workplace by:
Setting diversity and inclusion targets;
Challenging unconscious biases;
Promoting flexible working;
Providing mentorship and coaching; and
Providing models and visible leadership.
The Africa Business Agenda: Workforce Perspective 2023 highlights the need for CEOs to understand the changing macro forces on an organisation and in a response to these, place people at the heart of business strategy through enabling new roles with new skills, driving performance through productivity.
As the war for talent rages on in an ever-changing economic landscape, does your organisation need assistance in pivoting towards new ways of work through developing a new business strategy - brought to life through a passionate workforce?