A particular area that has often been blamed in the past for highly skilled labour leaving South Africa is Employment Equity, which has led to many larger corporations preferring to hire employees from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
However, many recruiters believe that Employment Equity policies, such as BEE, are often misunderstood: Chris Bryan, one of the founding Partners of Cape Town-based Executive Search specialists Caven Hunters, thinks that while many employment practices may have changed in the past 15 years there are opportunities for senior executives to return and contribute to the growth and development of local and international firms wishing to expand their footprint in Africa.
â€œMost large national and international firms realise that the only way to implement successful Employment Equity programmes is to have experienced middle and senior management in place to pass skills gained off-shore on to those, who haven’t yet had the opportunity to work abroad. We are here to connect those, who are ready to come back to South Africa with firms that are in desperate need for their talent.”
Ant Moore, Managing Partner at Caven Hunters, says that the attitudes of expats are changing for a number of reasons, chiefly owing to the fact that the doomsday scenario, which had initially been predicted by many skeptics, never materialised.
“I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that the developed economies are or have been going through a rough patch themselves and that a large majority of South Africans are realizing that home isn’t so bad after all. It seems to be a case of the grass is green but not necessarily greener.”
“Emerging Markets, particularly in Africa, are picking up speed and we’re seeing a lot of opportunity in the Financial Services, Consumer and Industrial sectors. Six of the world’s top ten performing economies are now found in Africa and these sectors are rapidly expanding not only in South Africa itself but Pan-Africa, too. Both local and foreign firms are using South Africa as a launch-pad for operations further into Africa and are constantly on the lookout for skilled individuals, many of whom have learned their trade abroad in the major developed markets.”
Chris Bryan goes on to stress, however, that realistic expectations are key when planning the long-awaited return to Mzansi, with exceptions confirming the rule:
“We’ve been down this road (returning to SA) personally and so feel we are best-placed to completely understand expats’ needs. The local market has been catching up with the developed markets of the UK, US & Asia, especially salary-wise, but it is still some way off. But get in touch with us and discuss your experience, and we’ll see what you can do. That said, we recently placed a senior Investment Banker, whose package in ZAR terms was relatively equivalent to what he would be earning on New York’s Wall Street.”
Caven Hunters are continuously witnessing new foreign firms entering the local and African markets and are seeing a steady demand from their clients for candidates with decent and practical global experience. If you’re considering returning to South Africa and would like to get in touch o discuss the current opportunities please visit www.cavenhunters.com or contact Chris at email@example.com or Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org