The State of the ICT Sector 2019 has been published by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) and the report contains some interesting revelations about employment in the telecommunications sector.
The good news is that employment in telecommunications has grown by 20 percent from 30 881 to 37 063 between 2017 and 2018.
That translates into 6.2 percent growth over the last four years which is great.
What isn’t as great however is that between 2017 and 2018 the number of female employees in the telecommunications sector has declined. In 2018 of the 37 063 employees only 13 753 or 37 percent were female.
Looking at black economic empowerment measures, Icasa found that of the 293 top management positions at telecommunications firms only 85 positions were occupied by black individuals and increase from 52 in 2017. Black females in top management only occupy 37 positions, up from 21 in 2017.
Simply put only 29 percent of top management positions at telecommunications firms are held by black individuals while only 2.7 percent of top managers are black women.
Speaking frankly for a moment, transformation in the telecommunications sector is desperately needed and it’s not like there is a shortage of skills in the sector. Icasa reports that of the 37 063 folks employed in the telecommunications sector 34 percent are skilled, 46 percent are semi-skilled and only six percent have no skills whatsoever.
Of course some firms are taking transformation seriously and have invested in empowering previously disadvantaged individuals. One such company is Vox which celebrated the graduation of 10 women from its internal skills development programme in October 2018.
We’d love to see more initiatives such as this and perhaps with more of these we’ll see more that 37 black females in the growing telecommunications sector.