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General News of Thursday, 18 April 2019

Source: Henking Anyingmor Adjase-Kodjo

Today’s students are ‘irrelevant’ to tomorrow’s market - Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson addressing the crowd Ken Thompson addressing the crowd

Technology is ‘disrupting’ the way we work and students are not prepared for the changes that have taken and are taking place in the job market. Their vision of success is based on professions and skills that were successful in the past, says Chief Executive Officer of Dalex Finance, Ken Thompson.

He said “…the skills needed to succeed in the future are different from those that provided success in the past and to be relevant you should be an autodidact…”.
Quoting from the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report (2018), he said “…roles such as Data Analysts and Scientists; Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Specialists; Software and Application Developers; Big Data Specialists are emerging whilst Accounting, Administrative and Executive Secretaries, Assembly and Factory Workers etc. are declining …”.

Other emerging roles he cited were Digital Transformation and Organizational Development Specialists, He has therefore challenged tertiary students to ‘adapt appropriately’ by making themselves relevant in today’s job market.

Mr. Thompson made these remarks at two separate events held recently at the University of Ghana (UG) in Accra and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi.

The former event was organized by the Finance Students and Associates (FINSA) of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) as part of the FINTECH day celebration.

The latter was jointly organized by KNUST and the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) as part of activities lined up for the African Changemakers Tour held recently. He spoke on the topic, ‘Technology disruptions in today’s job market- how prepared is the average graduate’.

He said “…there is a long winding road ahead of you and praying for your ‘breakthrough’ is an exercise in futility; the future is digital, and you must embrace it to succeed. Your dream job is not secure unless the company or institution you hope to work for has embraced these disruptive technologies …”.

He defined ‘disruptive technology’ as an enhanced or a completely new technology that replaces or disrupts an existing one, rendering the latter obsolete. He cited the internet, mobile phones, social media and mobile money as key examples of technologies that have caused serious ‘revolutions’.

“… the marriage between mobile phones and the internet has changed and will continue to change the way we live. Our postal system has become obsolete. Mobile Money transactions are growing whilst traffic in the banking halls and deposits with financial institutions are reducing. “…the banks have already lost out…”, he said.

He illustrated the growth of Mobile Money and said “…as at the end of December 2018, there were approximately 13 million Mobile Money accounts as against 11.6 million banks accounts. Mobile Money recorded about 233 billion transactions by the end of last year which far exceeds the 203 billion cheque transactions. That is how fast Mobile Money is changing the financial landscape…”.

He admonished the students to take advantage of emerging trends, innovations and new technologies to acquire skills beyond the lecture hall. “…read widely, work harder and adapt appropriately, if you want to fit into the fast-paced world of work…”, he stated.

President of FINSA (UG chapter), Mr. Dii-Winga Amegnonka said “…the bar appears higher than we ever imagined as students. It is no longer a case of good grades and a first class which have been the preoccupation of many students. The speakers minced no words in pointing these facts to us. They woke us up to the stark realities which appear challenging though, but it is good we are hearing them now…”.

Other speakers at the UG event were Messrs David Ganesha Tetteh, Chief Executive Officer of Bargane Investment Holdings Ltd and Bernard Obeng Boateng, a Financial Modeler and Data Analyst.

The African Changemakers Tour at KNUST attracted speakers including actors such as John Dumelo, Adjetey Annang, also known as ‘Pusher’ and Hiphop Star, Manifest, known in private life as Kwame Ametepe Tsikata.