COVID-19 and the future of work by Vumile Msweli

Together with Boundless Minds Uganda, our short blog series will focus on the workplace post COVID-19.

Youth employment, skills training and job creation are at the forefront of both organisations. According to recent reports COVID-19 will impact young people in Sub-Saharan Africa the hardest, the aim of this series is to equip all stakeholders with information, expert advice, and a dose of inspiration.

Our third guest contributor based in South Africa is Vumile Msweli, an influential career coach and CEO of Hesed Consulting; a coaching and consultancy firm.

  1. Tell us about your work?

I run Hesed Consulting a coaching and consulting firm with presence in South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda and Botswana. We specialise in career coaching helping individuals and corporates achieve their learning and development goals and have a career they thrive in.

  1. How do you predict the future of work is going to look like after this situation is out of the way?

I believe we will see an increase in the gig economy with many companies hiring for projects as opposed to hiring full time employees in order to reduce their operating costs. In my opinion I foresee the freelancing market growing exponentially.

  1. Do you think that these disruptions to work and business are going to affect decisions on hiring especially entry-level staff?

Yes I believe these disruptions will definitely impact the hiring of entry level staff. Companies will look at hiring revenue generating or niche skilled employees and the cost of labour will reduce with so many people getting salary cuts. Therefore salary expectations need to be adjusted and the concept of having a single employer may need to be reviewed.

  1. If you were speaking to a young person who is looking at all this and worrying about how and whether they will be able to make that transition to work, what would you tell them?

Remain calm and reflect, this is not the first time the world has seen such turmoil. That such a crisis presents a unique opportunity. It is critical for you to be able to articulate the value you can bring to an organization both qualitatively and quantitatively. Young people must also remember that with the world engaging almost completely digitally the labour market will be competitive on a global scale, therefore they must be able to engage and perform at a world class level.

  1. What about institutions of higher learning that are preparing young people for work. What should they be doing?

Higher learning institutions should be preparing young people to not only be equipped employees but competent entrepreneurs. In light of the trends we see regarding the future of work and rise in the shared economy, employees are now selling their intellectual property and time to employers for a particular time period on a consultative basis versus full time employment. As such individuals need to be able to market and sell their skill sets to various employers.

  1. In your opinion, what measures or policies do you think should be put in place to ensure that youth employment thrives post COVID-19

I believe policies to keep youth employed even if at a discounted price in order to be able to have exposure and gain experience. I also think mentorship and skills transfer need to be top priority and a collaborative approach from an African perspective in order to be able to compete with the rest of the world.

ii) What measures are being implemented in South Africa to promote youth employment 

In South Africa we currently have the Youth Employment Services agency which was established by the office of the president. It provides training; experience to youth from small to medium size agencies as well as larger corporates.  They are also tax benefits for hiring youth

Join the conversation on our social media accounts #WorkPostCOVID19, stay tuned for the rest of our series.

Twitter: @Vumilemsweli / Instagram: @Vumimsweli

Twitter: @Pro_Interns / @Boundless_UG