A report by SAP Africa has revealed that most organisations in Nigeria are struggling to get suitable candidates with the right tech skills.

The research report which looked at the state of tech skills in Africa showed that all (100%) Nigerian companies surveyed said they had suffered a negative impact due to a lack of tech skills, compared to 60% in Kenya and 78% in South Africa. 

According to the ‘Africa’s Tech Skills Scarcity, Revealed’ report 4 in 5 organisations surveyed reported some negative effect from a lack of tech skills, with 41% reporting that employees are leaving due to the pressures they experience as a result of understaffing.

Other consequences include not being able to meet client needs (reported by 46%), reduced capacity for innovation (53%), and losing customers to competitors (60%).  

The data showed that the top skills challenge for African organisations is attracting skilled new recruits, although in South Africa the retention of skilled employees narrowly edged out attracting skills as the top challenge. 

Skills in demand: The report further found that the most in-demand skills by organisations include cybersecurity and data analytics (63%), developer and industry skills (49%), and digital transformation skills (48%).  

  • More than two-thirds (69%) cited technical skills as an important attribute when recruiting, while 66% said industry-specific skills were important to them. 

Need for investment in skills: Commenting on the report, Managing Director at SAP Africa, Cathy Smith, said there is an urgent need to invest in skills development and training to ensure Africa can capitalise on its youth dividend.  

  • “More than half of the world’s population growth between now and 2050 will take place in Africa, where 1.3 billion people are expected to be born by mid-century. With the correct investment in skills development, Africa’s economy could transition away from its reliance on natural resources to build the world’s future tech workforce, bringing untold economic and social benefits to the continent and its citizens.  
  • “However, as our research reveals, African organizations still face some difficulties with attracting, retaining and upskilling suitably skilled tech workers,” she said. 

Other findings: Other key findings from the report include: 

  • Only 53% of Kenyan organisations expect to experience a skills gap in the next year, compared to 80% of Nigerian companies and 73% of South African organisations. 
  • 37% of Kenyan organisations want employees in-office full-time, compared to 23% of organisations in Nigeria and only 13% of South African ones. 
  • Organisations in Kenya and Nigeria cite attracting skilled new recruits as their top tech skills challenge in 2023, but in South Africa, the top challenge is retaining skilled tech workers. 
  • Digital transformation skills were cited by 70% of South African companies as an in-demand skill, compared to only 33% of organisations in Kenya and Nigeria. 

The research was conducted among organisations in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa in the fourth quarter of 2022.