We live in the 21st century. As Peter Drucker once opined, it is a season of great complexity, competition, and rapid changes. One of the effects of globalisation on most third-world nations is the global competition for jobs. The head office of a company may be located in Mumbai, do research and development in New York, have her factory in Tanzania, and outsource her customer service functions to a company in Nigeria. The global competition has also ensured that being a master at certain left-brain tasks is not enough. One must always stretch beyond one’s immediate environment to align with leading global practices to remain relevant. The complexities of work and the speed-of-light changes happening in various occupational settings contribute immensely to the increasing competition.
With the unemployment rate climbing sharply to dizzying levels, there is a need to harness the very first natural resource of any country – its people. Singapore focused on increasing the employability and career success of its people, and today, they have a first-world nation to show for it.
A significant part of a people-focused intervention is placing a spotlight on jobs. A job is the act of responsibly engaging the talents, energies and time of a person or people in a way that allows them to improve their standard of living, as well as contribute meaningfully to the development of their domicile or country.
With Covid-19 negatively impacting the world and businesses, there has been a rise in unemployment. According to Stears News, SMEs are responsible for most of Nigeria’s employment. They account for 96% of businesses and 84% of jobs (compared to 53% in the US, 60% in South Africa and 65% in Europe). For the last five years, SMEs have contributed almost half of Nigeria’s GDP. However, most of the 40 million small businesses in the country were ill-equipped to handle Covid-19. Hence, they adjusted their strategies to focus on survival rather than thriving. Pre Covid-19, global unemployment stood at around 190 million, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). These numbers have multiplied significantly since the outbreak of the pandemic. By ILO’s analysis, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic far exceeds that of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
According to the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, the unemployment rate in Nigeria is predicted to rise to a staggering 33.5% by the end of the year 2020. However, this figure was stated pre-Covid-19. With the advent of the pandemic, this figure has significantly skyrocketed. The argument is that businesses need people to survive and thrive, hence rather than lay-offs, we should be talking about increasing the rate of recruitment. This school of thought makes sense; however, the reality is that even though organisations need people, what is happening now is an increase in what I call strategic recruitment. Hence, businesses are laying off employees who are not critical to their survival and hiring those who are. As more people are losing their jobs, the need for individuals to be recruited to fill strategic roles have increased. What is the implication of this on individuals?
As Governments race to bridge the unemployment gap, individuals should focus on closing the unemployability chasm by identifying the critical skills needed in one’s field. This must be done deliberately. It is hinged on the philosophy that businesses hire assets, not liabilities.
While we help businesses navigate the complex terrain of the marketplace, we have also seen the need for career coaching as a service we can render to individuals or teams. Career coaching has been defined as getting the support, help, and guidance you need to figure things out to reach your ultimate career goals. Coaching is a vital step to understanding, releasing and maximising potential.
With a combined experience of over 100 years among our career coaches, we can help you and your team make smart career decisions and unleash the best of you. We can help you remain employable in the face of the changing times we are experiencing.
Head of Advisory, People Transformation