Skills shortage hits industry—GEA Report

July 7, 2017
Source: Konrad Kodjo Djaisi/
Skills shortage hits industry—GEA Report

Majority of people looking for work lack basic IT, numeracy, listening and time management skills that make them unemployable, a study commissioned by the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) has found.

Dr. William Baah-Boateng of the Department of Economics, University of Ghana, lead researcher of the study, presenting the findings in Accra this week said generally, the study confirms that certain specific skills of employees in the country are inadequate.

These include skills in basic IT literacy and numeracy, advanced IT skills and software, listening skills and time management skills. Others are team working skills, technical and practical skills as well as problem solving skills.

The study further reveals that technical and associate professionals, managers and professional vacancies are hard to fill in the country.

Dr. Baah-Boateng said the reasons for this phenomenon are: “A few number of people with the required skill, and candidates with limited work experience apply for these jobs.

The research found that job vacancy fill rate is relatively low in the manufacturing sector, indicating that this sector encounters difficulties in finding suitable people to fill their vacancies. The job fill rate for commercial, banking and financial sectors are however higher.

The study also suggests that technical and associate professionals, clerical support workers, plant and machine operators, skilled agriculture, forestry and fishing occupations are on the decline.

It predicts that, in the next twelve months, occupations in the category of technical and associate professionals, services and sales workers, managers, and plant and machine operators would be in short supply, given the expectations of the economy.

With regards to first time job seekers, the survey provides evidence to suggest that graduates from secondary schools, technical and vocational institutions, and the universities do not adequately meet the expectations of employers.

Some of the policy suggestions are that employers pay a premium for skills that are in short supply to incentivise labour suppliers to consider investing in the acquisition of such skills to meet demand. In the technical and IT areas, it is suggested that government, through the educational authorities, design practical fields within the theoretical space in the area of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to build cognitive abilities of the labour force.

This would make them innovative with problem-solving capabilities. Again, it is suggested that that government make training in communication a priority at all levels. The syllabus at the basic to university level must contain concepts of communication tools. Also, employers and Trade Unions must train their members to imbibe the principles of communication.

Alex Frimpong, CEO of the GEA observed at the event that skills development is becoming paramount today and that the world of work is constantly changing through technology, and population growth, among others.  He also stated that employers also have a responsibility to upgrade the skills of employees.