Emigration South Africa

Photo: Julius Knutzen / Flickr

Three industries that will suffer as emigration out of South Africa soars

As emigration enquiries continue to increase across South Africa, three of our major industries are facing a severe brain drain over the next few years.

Emigration South Africa

Photo: Julius Knutzen / Flickr

Over the past few years, it has become apparent that South Africa will have to deal with a “brain drain” crisis. Emigration numbers are increasing noticeably this year, and the experts have seen notable rises in the number of applicants planning to up-sticks and move abroad.

Emigration from South Africa on the increase

Andrew Rissik is the Group Commercial Director of Sable International. He told us that 2019 has been a rather lucrative year for the emigration company, but that perhaps doesn’t bode well for the future of South Africa:

“We are seeing a general increase of people who want to leave. Our inquiries are up 70% this year and we’ve had a 50% increase in recorded transactions. People are worrying about their kids – they want to establish a better future for their families and ultimately, they see it outside of SA.”

Andrew Rissik

We spoke to Rissik further about the industries facing the biggest strain, as qualified professionals and fed-up families decide to fly the nest. We’re looking at which professions are set to be hit the hardest:

Industries under threat due to emigration from South Africa:

Medical and health professionals

Over the weekend, it was reported that the dreaded NHI bill would be tabled in Parliament, awaiting a rubber-stamp from Cyril Ramaphosa before being written into the law. The attempt to establish “universal health care for all” has gone down like a lead balloon, amid fears of extra taxes and a new state-owned entity to prop-up.

Research by the trade union group Solidarity – published just a few weeks ago – confirms that the mood is gloomy amongst medical professionals. Around 43% of health care workers would consider leaving South Africa if the government continues to implement the NHI scheme.

Agriculture and farming

With land expropriation looming on the horizon, the Sable representative believes that the uncertainty on how the non-compensatory model will work is spooking veterans of the industry. Rissik is questioning whether farmers will want to invest in land or infrastructure while so much is still up in the air.

The added factor of government intervention on how farmland is managed will do nothing to fill the old heads with confidence. Farmers may soon believe that the grass is greener on the other side of South Africa’s borders.

Skilled manual labour and trades

This has been flagged several times this year: The likes of skilled builders, plumbers and general tradespeople are becoming increasingly difficult to get hold of in South Africa. Pew Research confirmed that there’s been a 45% increase in companies struggling to recruit skilled workers in this industry over the past year.

With “artisans” seeking pastures new in other countries, things may only get worse when it comes to securing high-quality labourers in this country. Hope is not completely lost with emigration, however. Rissik has suggested how South Africa can renew confidence in its ailing industries, even though the challenges would be tough to overcome:

“Government needs to sort itself out internally. Too many factions are fighting internally, rather than sorting the tasks at hand. President Ramaphosa must speak to local investors and make them feel valued. He must be clearer on economic policies and do something to reduce crime in South Africa.”

Andrew Rissik