Alarming number of top professionals ready to bail on South Africa

A high number of skilled executives say they’re willing to leave South Africa for greener pastures, according to new data from executive recruitment specialists Jack Hammer.

The data is based on the Jack Hammer Bonus & Salary Survey which polls a representative sample of senior executives and managers in various sectors on their salary expectations, the biggest problems they are currently experiencing, and their future plans.

The vast majority of respondents from all demographics again indicated that they would consider moving abroad, Jack Hammer said.

However, it noted that this trend may be reaching a plateau after highs recorded in 2018.

Jack Hammer noted that in 2019, 79% of respondents said they would consider moving abroad, compared to 82% last year, and 76% in 2017, which saw a massive jump from 29% in 2016.

“Although the numbers still show a steady increase in those willing to consider a move abroad, the biggest jumps were in 2017 and 2018, with significant increases in both years around the expressed desire to consider opportunities abroad.

“This year, although overall the brain drain remained a real thing, the tide now seems to be calming, which should make for an interesting comparison come November 2020.”

Shift in trends

According to Sable International’s Andrew Rissik, around 25,000 skilled people leaving South Africa each year, with approximately 1,000 and 2,000 of these people also being very wealthy and able to buy their way into other countries.

This averages out to approximately 68 skilled people, and between two and five ultra-wealthy South Africans, leaving the country each day. Ultra-wealthy describes those people worth in excess of $1 million.

Trevor Thomas of Induku Immigration Consultants said that for the first time since democracy in 1994, more black South Africans than whites are seeking to emigrate as growth stutters and unemployment spikes in the country.

These South Africans are considering emigration as a means of improving their job prospects, concerns over safety, and quality of life, he said.

“In South Africa, while many thought emigration was only a phenomenon amongst white professionals, in recent years, it is known that the number of black professionals leaving South Africa has exceeded white emigrants.”

“New Zealand, Australia and Canada remain viable destinations to emigrate to. The inability to amass sufficient points has however found many families being denied access with their visa applications being disapproved.

“The USA and pursuing ‘the American dream’ would appear to be a real and attractive alternative,” he said.

Read: Skilled South Africans are using these visas to emigrate to Australia

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Alarming number of top professionals ready to bail on South Africa