The announcement by Standard Chartered Bank last week that it will close at least seven of its branches across Zimbabwe could be viewed as a sad development in light of country efforts to create employment.
The bank said the move to retrench is due to the emergence of digital banking solutions like mobile banking and Internet banking which are countering the need to continue keeping traditional human resources workforce.
This raises fundamental questions on the place of technology in the modern day operations of companies and factories. It can be noted that the emergence of cutting edge technologies to provide operational solutions across industries came with a detrimental effect on organizational human resources.
Digitization demands massive re-skilling of workforce in all organizations to meet the demands of technology driven entrepreneurship.
The battle has shifted to technological relevance versus the future jobs with businesses already recruiting personnel who meet the required technological specifications. The new motto is “Re-skill or get retrenched!!”
Standard Chartered joins a bandwagon of many other local companies which have retrenched in a bid to resize their operations to level up with the tough economic conditions and utilizing on the advantage of using technology.
For one to stand the test of time in the job market, it is recommended to start acquiring training for new skills to meet the demands of the present and future jobs. Many organizations have begun investing more resources towards the re-skilling of its critical workforce such as IT Technicians, Lead Engineers, Chief Technology Officers etc.
A closer look into Zimbabwe’s telecom industry gives us results of how leading operators like Liquid Telecom, Econet, ZOL, TelOne and NetOne are sending their human resources personal to various parts of the world to attain new skills. Those in the technical services field are now required to be holders of professional certifications such as Cisco, Huawei, Juniper Microsoft etc.
The re-skilling revolution in the technology industry is being fueled by the emergent of disruptive innovative business solutions like Cloud Computing, Digital Information Systems and many more.
In modern human resources management, the only thing to keep yourself relevant in the job market is to keep on updating your skills. A degree is no longer enough to secure your job but learning new skills will make you relevant.
A good example can be seen in how Far East countries like China, Japan, and South Korea are doing massive retraining of their government workforce in a bid to meet the demands of e-governance. On the other hand, the Indian government recently announced that it has embarked on a massive drive to re-skill its workforcea in order to catch up with the next wave of technology.
We hope to see Zimbabwe adopting the same strategies if we are to see ourselves as on of the fastest emerging economies in the few years to come. Despite everyone calling for foreign direct investment, it should be noted that every monetary investment must be channeled towards an industry with valid human capital base.