August 31, 2023
Professional services really mean growth opportunities. So why are they actually scarce?

Accessible & tailored human capital development opportunities & growth services are keys to driving professional growth, economic transformation, & eventually progress. So why are they scarce & inaccessible & how can we change that? 

Picture from Global Aspire

How many times have you heard someone say, “I have a business idea, but I just don’t know how or where to start”, or “I want someone who knows this industry to help & guide me but I can't seem to find them”.

Or maybe heard someone complain about finding the right talent to hire, be it an employee, a freelancer, an accountant, a legal counsel, or a graphic designer. 

Or maybe you yourself tried to find a workshop or a seminar that provides the knowledge you need to compliment your professional growth but couldn't. 

We’ve encountered so many people looking for a resource, a service, a piece of knowledge, but have no idea who or where to look. Sometimes not even not knowing what it is they want or need in the first place. Maybe that person was you.

It was definitely us at one point in time (many points in time but who’s counting). 

We realized there are a number of services that people could benefit from & also realized a large portion of those people need a treasure map to find them. 

Based on many conversations with our extended network, we were able to pinpoint three main problems that could explain why that is:

  1. There is limited access to human capital development & growth services 
  2. Professional support provided is not catered to the needs of everyone
  3. Limited inclusionary networks 

To explain the first problem, let’s explain what human capital is & why its development is paramount. 

According to the World Bank, “human capital consists of the knowledge, skills, & health that people invest in & accumulate throughout their lives, enabling them to realize their potential as productive members of society”. 

Evidence has shown without developing human capital, “countries cannot achieve sustained, inclusive economic growth, will not have a workforce prepared for the more highly skilled jobs of the future, & will not compete effectively in the global economy”.

The SWANA region faces a severe human capital gap with the lowest percentage of human capital as a share of total wealth per capita of any region in the world 35%, compared to the global average of 64%. 

The World Bank Group’s broader SWANA strategy identifies human capital development as one of the main drivers of economic transformation.

Employers know this first hand; 40% of SWANA employers indicate that the human capital gap is a “major impediment to business growth”. Creative & independent thinking, problem solving skills, soft skills, sector-specific & functional skills are the major contributors to this skills gap.

Yet according to a glint report 97% of employees want to expand or continue their time to learn. 

Employees “increasingly want opportunities to learn & develop new skills that elevate their ability to perform their roles” but just can’t seem to find these opportunities, can't find them easily enough, or these opportunities available are simply too inaccessible.

In other cases, people are able to find learning opportunities & growth services but find that the services provided do not address their needs or real career-life skills. 

Which brings us to the second problem identified; the support provided is not catered to the needs of everyone.

For example, according to an HBR study women scored “at a statistically significantly higher level than men on the vast majority of leadership competencies measured”, 84% more effective to be exact. 

Yet most seminars & workshops that target business professionals focus on becoming better leaders.

Elevate network, a global network for professional women, conducted a survey on their members & found 21% of Ellevate women are “looking for education and content to help advance their skills”. 

However, they have a hard time finding knowledge opportunities that address their needs so they “find themselves turning to other resources to advance their skills to make it to the next level in their careers”.

For example 92Y Women inPower offers women across all professional sectors the resources, mentorship, & training they need to advance them to the highest level of leadership, at zero cost. 

Realizing that women, in the current exclusionary business climate, need to find a way to get to a leadership position versus tools to become a good leader.

This actually brings us to the third problem; limited access to inclusionary networks.

A number of professionals do have access to the resources, services, or knowledge they need to further drive their growth via the network they’re members of. The Ellevate women above being exhibit A. 

But many of these networks themselves are inaccessible. Some only operate in specific geographies, some are too expensive, & some have unreachable conditions & qualifications to join the network.

This again limits the access to these growth opportunities driven professionals constantly seek.

We conducted a highly-targeted market research study of our own, led by Analyseize, utilizing both quantitative & qualitative research efforts, comprising 250+ surveys & 2 focus groups of growth-driven & progress-driven professionals. 

We asked our respondents to rank services they’re looking for & need. 

  • 57% of respondents rated access to legal services as important, highly important, or crucial
  • 61% of respondents rated social media support as important, highly important, or crucial
  • 59% of respondents rated access to financial services as as important, highly important, or crucial
  • 61% of respondents rated access to graphic designers as important, highly important, or crucial
  • 53% of respondents curated workshops as important, highly important, or crucial
  • 61% of respondents rated curated seminars as important, highly important, or crucial

Based on our research we realized early on providing our members with accessible & curated human capital growth opportunities along with select legal, technical, financial & strategic support to strengthen their businesses & careers was crucial.

Accessible & tailored human capital development opportunities & growth services are keys to driving professional growth, economic transformation, & eventually progress. 

If you are looking for these opportunities or interested in sharing these resources with other like-minded individuals, apply to join our community & follow us for more collaborative takes on community.

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Zara M. Najjar

Co-Founder & Opportunity Driver @ SIRA
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