IBM High End Skills Study

IBM Corporate Social Corps present findings on Kenya’s High-end ICT and ITES industry talent development for transformation towards vision 2030

(Muriuki mureithi This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it snr advisor IBM CSC/DOT program)

IBMKenya ICT Board secured the support of IBM Corporate Social Corp (CSC) team to research and understand the dynamics and challenges of high-end talent to propel and undergird national transformation to an information society in line with National Vision 2030. The work was conducted in March /April 2011 is provided on pro bono consultancy basis by IBM . The IBM CSC team supported the KICTB’s efforts to review the status and availability of high-end ICT talent and proposed a framework to address the talent gap in the short and long term on a sustainable basis. This review included software, hardware and solutions applications, networking etc knowledge workers. The review further explored direction of demand of such skills, the capacity and the mechanisms in place to train and incentives to support such high-end talent production. The effort built on the skill gap survey on the Business process outsourcing sector carried out by the government in 2010.


IBM'CSC is an employee leadership initiative to expose high performance IBM employees to the 21st century context for doing business in emerging markets, global teaming, diverse cultures, working outside the traditional office, and increased societal expectations for more responsible and sustainable business practices. CSC participants perform community-driven economic development projects in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, working at the intersection of business, technology and society. The IBM CSC work on projects of significant value in developing countries, in four-week assignments. These teams tackle real societal, educational and economic challenges, while at the same time experiencing a diverse cultural perspective and enhancing their skills and leadership competencies. Kenya is a beneficiary of this CSC programme and a team of four international experts drawn from USA, China, Japan and Hungary were deployed to KICTB for this assignment. Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) has been selected by IBM as a global implementation partner for the CSC program and is implementing the program

The specific tasks for the IBM CSC team were to:

  • · Evaluate the skills gap between the supply if any and demand and understand the implication to academic and ICT training institutions
  • · Propose a framework to develop high-end talent that may include a framework to incentivize sustainable high-end talent development, discussion on environment to nurture talent and mechanisms to attract and sustain talent

The IBM CSC team methodically collected and analysed a lot of relevant data whcih included targeted interviews and during the four weeks of intensive work and and identified six focus areas, namely;

  • · Developing a local high-end talent pool
  • · Retention of high-end talent in the ICT industry
  • · Trainning and methods used for skills transfer
  • · University offerings and their current challenges
  • · Collaboration between academia, industry and government
  • · Industry’s role in bridging the skills gap

With insights from interviews, literature review and in-depth analysis, the sub team presented a set of recommendations on the following;

Quick wins

  • Image and perception of local high-end talents should be changed by celebrating the achievements of high-performing employees working in ICT companies and publicly recognizing top high-end talent in KICTB ceremonies.
  • KICTB should establish a think-tank to help develop ICT outlook
  • KICTB should create and communicate regular newsletters to companies about new ICT technologies, trends, investments in Kenya to keep ICT employees informed about current and future opportunities.
  • Ministry of Higher Education (MHE) and University policy should be changed to provide more flexibility in the students’ curriculum to allow elective courses and longer internships.
  • MHE should encourage and facilitate the use of business experts to share industry best practices and serve as guest lecturers or adjunct professors at universities.
  • KICTB working with the Media should publicly recognize industry initiatives of investing in the development of young talent.

In the Longer term

  • KICTB should create a framework to facilitate ICT employee short-term assignments abroad and develop incentives to ensure the employee returns.
  • Universities should establish a career relations department with corporate representation responsible for student development and corporate relations.
  • KICTB working with government lead tax incentive policies and programs to encourage R&D: Industry investment in research and development at local universities and the creation of a cultural center of technology (Silicon Valley) within the ICT park

The findings and recommendations were presented to KICTB and accepted. KICTB committed to internalize the recommendations and work with the relevant agencies to implement the recommendations in due course