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Two-thirds of SA SMEs struggle for tech talent

New research shows small business adoption of cloud accounting tech has grown by nearly 50% since 2017, but a skills gap remains

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Sasha Sanders, Founder of Conscious Company, which assists organisations with culture, communication and storytelling, says: “The concept of a learning or growth mindset – those who want to learn new things are open to more information and enthusiastic about expanding their skills – as opposed to a fixed mindset, is something more and more organisations are talking about.  We know that things are changing and will continue to change. We’ve heard that the jobs today’s kids will have in a decade or two don’t exist right now.

“So, training and upskilling people – or enabling them to gain broader and deeper expertise – is essential. It’s also critical to retaining people. Employees, especially younger ones, actively seek employers who put a focus on learning and development, so it will be key for attracting new talent too.”

Arthur Goldstuck, technology analyst and founder of World Wide Worx says: “The research shows quite clearly that all businesses are becoming, to a greater or lesser extent, technology-driven. The cloud is now at the heart of almost every business, which explains why cloud computing skills represent the single biggest skills gap across all SMEs. We’ve already seen more than half of SMEs investing in cloud and tech skills. With the digital revolution that occurred as a result of Covid-19 and remote working, this trend will only accelerate.”

The findings are from Xero’s fourth annual State of Small Business report, conducted earlier this year in partnership with World Wide Worx (WWW) and based on responses from 400 small business owners and 200 accountants. The research highlights the areas in which small businesses need support and their progress in digital adoption.  

Other key findings from the research include:

  • Over half (53%) of businesses found that adopting technology resulted in ‘somewhat big’ or ‘big’ increases to their profitability.
  • A third (33%) of small businesses reported that they are finding it hard to keep pace with tech developments, despite good progress.
  • More than two in five (41%) businesses indicated that they’re only just keeping up with technology.

You can download the State of South African Small Business 2020 report in full here

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