Industry Labour Force Skills Gap Investigation: A Focus on the Automotive, Electrical Engineering, and ICT Industries in Swaziland

Sluggish economic growth coupled with high unemployment rates have become synonymous with the economy in Swaziland. In particular, youth unemployment, which stood at 51.6% in 2014, the last year for which reliable data is available, has skyrocketed amidst limited opportunities for young people in the economy. Put differently, these figures suggest that one in every two young people in Swaziland is unemployed. Moreover, the ‘youth bulge’ – a situation in which the population share of the 15–24-year-olds exceeds 20% and the share of the 0-14 year-olds (often also referred to as the "children bulge" and a good predictor of future youth bulges) is higher than 30% –, means the country’s population is also growing faster than jobs are created. This calls for urgent strategies and public policies that can transform the economy, reignite economic growth, and capitalise on Swaziland’s youthful population. Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has emerged as a credible route for the production of the necessary skills and knowledge that will feed directly into industry in a bid to enhance the employability of young people and create employment. Indeed, the talent, know-how, skills and capabilities of human capital can provide the relevant stock of competencies needed to increase efficiency and overall productivity in industry. However, at the present moment, there is very little information on whether or not the skills produced by the TVET sector in Swaziland are meeting the needs of industry. Conceivably, this has compromised efforts aimed at increasing the contribution of TVET in human capital development in Swaziland. This Report presents the results of a TVET-industry skills gap analysis in the automotive, electrical engineering, and information and communications technology (ICT) industries in Swaziland. It investigates the relevancy of the skills supplied by the TVET institutions against the skills demanded/required by the three industries considered in this study. Closing the skills gap in the technical and vocational labour force could directly impact the productivity of local companies, create new enterprises, and enable the economy to grow through both formal and informal employment.