Getting the African diaspora back

,,,This article, Getting the African diaspora back, talks about the search for top-end talent to lead Africa-based offices of international companies is increasingly turning to African diaspora, trying to attract many of the continent’s skilled workers now based abroad back to Africa.

Many establishments struggle to secure suitable locally-based skills at the executive level and had since looked to the continent’s diaspora to fill positions, leveraging global search firms and social networks. Furthermore, deploying foreign expatriates to local positions is not only costly, but frequently met with conflict from local employees. You see the problem is that front-line teams in Africa don’t really want an American, for example, to come in and lead the office; they want a Ghanaian or a Nigerian.

Africans want to be led by Africans. Companies across the continent often fork out heaps of cash to get the African diaspora back, knowing that it will pay off in the long term.

Stating that greater competitiveness in the labour market was prompting organisations to consolidate and enhance their market positions, a survey revealed that the African diaspora was now seen as a supplementary labour market.

It further appeared that conditions in sub-Saharan Africa were becoming more competitive, leading businesses to focus on maintaining their

existing market share, thus supporting modest labour growth ambitions. As a result, the majority of the 308 Southern Africa-based companies polled did not expect their recruitment needs to change substantially over the next year.

In addition, while still low, staff turnover had increased, particularly in respect of professionals, executives and technical staff, with this trend more visible among local staff than among expatriates. A related trend is the time it takes to fill positions across all staff categories, something that signals a rise in the competition for skills. In the context of a more competitive environment, local skills remain the preferred employment option.

Companies across Africa recognise that expatriates can fill an invaluable gap in providing specialist expertise; so much so that, while the demand for expatriates remains constant, participants’ desire to reduce their reliance on this group has declined.


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