South Africa Amongst World’s Best at Coping with COVID-19 Business Challenges, says Report

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Although organisations worldwide found their businesses disrupted, projects postponed, and strategies challenged during 2020, South African companies were very adept at coping with business-related challenges as a result of COVID-19, says Project Management Institute.

“Drawing this conclusion in their annual Pulse of the Profession report, PMI reported that project leaders in 72% of South African organizations reported changes being taken in corporate strategy—against the 64% recorded globally,” says George Asamani, Business Development Leader, Africa at Project Management Institute.

In addition to being adaptable, South African businesses displayed a higher tendency than the global average in the prioritisation of fair compensation (48% in South Africa versus 37% globally).

This suggests greater accuracy in matching pay to performance despite downward pressure on salaries throughout the challenges of COVID.

However, the report highlighted some opportunities for South Africa in the areas of technology and skills development:

  • South Africa lagged in the frequent use of blockchain (8% locally versus 14% globally)
  • Little adoption of low-code/no-code development platforms (18% in South Africa versus 26% globally)
  • Low prioritisation of web, mobile and user interface development skills (22% in South Africa versus 30% globally)
  • Fewer South African organisations prioritise the development of empathy, a critical skill in design-thinking capabilities. (Only 12% of South African organisations compared to 19% globally).

“South Africa’s slower adoption of digital solutions in the workplace is significant as the ability to swivel to digital is a prerequisite for growth in a post-COVID age,” added Asamani.

“Digital skills and culture are vital, as the Pulse of the Profession reveals that flexible enterprises that tailor the way they work and empower their people are thriving in today’s Project Economy.”

“Skills and culture are successful enterprises as they enable employees to focus on outcomes rather than processes by balancing structure and governance while embracing change.” People who are empowered to create change and are provided with the skills and culture to master different ways of working become well-rounded professionals, who can power through disruption and survive,” Asamani continues.

Project Management Institute (PMI) has, since 2006, conducted the annual Pulse of the Profession survey amongst project management professionals to track trends in project management, delivering original market research based on feedback from project, programme, and portfolio managers from around the world.

The 2021 edition of Pulse of the Profession – titled Beyond Agility – reports the results of an online survey of 3,950 project professionals, with 196 respondents from South Africa, conducted in October and November 2020.

Respondents represented a range of industries and sectors across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East/North Africa, and China.

Edited by Luis Monzon
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