THE majority of employees in Zimbabwe lack critical skills such as business acumen and research skills which are sought after in developed countries, a survey has revealed.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
A general lack of these skill among the majority of Zimbabwean employees could be the reason most companies are going bankrupt, according to a survey by Industrial Psychology Consultants titled Occupational Skill Survey Report.
“The results show that most Zimbabwean employees lack business acumen, research skills, innovation, and financial literacy, business report writing skills, critical thinking, numerical reasoning, people management, time management and business etiquette,” the report says.
“A careful review of these same weaknesses reveals that these are the most sought-after skills in developed countries.”
The report said the lack of these skills could be one of the reasons why some Zimbabwean companies struggle to remain viable.
“Developed countries have poured money into developing these skills at an early age. Could this be the reason why most companies locally are going bankrupt? Could this be the reason why our economy is struggling?” the report asks.
The report established that only 27% of the respondents were highly competent in business acumen with the same percentage being competent in research skills. Other low percentages of competence were recorded in critical thinking (41%), financial literacy (30%), innovation (30%) time management (38%), people management (38%) and business report writing (37%).
A total of 818 respondents participated in this survey. The survey link was e-mailed to Zimbabwean employees. Of the respondents, 67,2% were male while 32,8% were female.
With regards to qualifications of the respondents of the survey, 46,6% had a post-graduate qualification, 31,3% had an undergraduate degree, 14,9% had a diploma qualification with the remainder taking lower qualifications than a diploma.
The report recommended that the Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative by government, which encourages the study of subjects such as mathematics and science in schools, could be used to remedy the shortfalls in the employees skill set.
“The Stem initiate being driven by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology Development is very noble. Should they decide to broaden the skills set they could incorporate some of these skills where Zimbabweans have deficiencies,” the report prescribes.
It was established by the survey that a large percentage of participants (59%) are highly competent in using Microsoft Word. It revealed that 57% of the participants are highly competent in technical skills (specific to their job).
The report also found that 50% of the participants are highly competent in team working skills.
There is a strong association, the report established, between presentation skills and the economic sector, employee level and academic sector.
“A large percentage (54%) of employees in senior management and executive level are highly competent, 56% of the employees in the middle management are competent and 46% of those who are in the non-managerial and junior management level are competent in presentation skills,” the report notes.
“Most of the employees with a post-graduate and doctorate qualification are highly competent in presentation skills.”
The report also found that most of the employees with a qualification below a post-graduate degree are highly competent on innovation than their colleagues.
It is also shown in the report that a large percentage of participants (59%) are highly competent in using Microsoft Word, with 57% of the participants being highly competent in technical skills (specific to their job).
The report also observes that 50% of the participants are highly competent in team working skills.
“Most of the employees in automotive, public service and local government and law and legal services have good interpersonal skills. Middle management employees are the category with the lowest competency level on interpersonal skills,” the report states.