Skilled South Africans are quitting their jobs – here’s where they are going

 ·9 Aug 2022

Even in a job-scarce country like South Africa where workers would be expected to hang onto their jobs, the ‘great resignation’ has had a profound impact on the country.

Dalya Ketz, MD at Gcubed Boutique Recruitment told BusinessTech that resignation levels are higher than they’ve been for more than a decade and the reasons behind South Africa’s mass resignations are varied.

“Firstly, the unstable economic conditions in South Africa are forcing highly skilled individuals to seek opportunities abroad for themselves and their families. Secondly, labour shortages overseas are enticing skilled South Africans to relocate, and in instances where international companies are prepared to assist with relocating entire families abroad, it has become nearly impossible for local companies to compete.”

Ketz said that the profile of workers resigning from their jobs differs from the rest of the world. Where other countries experienced a mass resignation of low-wage workers, in South Africa, highly skilled, qualified workers are not only resigning from their jobs locally but leaving the country entirely in search of better opportunities abroad.

“South Africans are generally open to opportunities anywhere globally, particularly in places where companies can assist with sponsorship and relocation, not just for themselves but their immediate family,” said Ketz.

“A large number of individuals are going to Canada, the UK, and New Zealand – countries that are able to offer opportunities that are seemingly very attractive for South Africans,” the recruitment specialist said, “We are seeing all industries being affected by this.”

She said that global companies are increasingly employing South Africans remotely as well as relocating them. “Remotely, there are enormous benefits for companies to employ South Africans from a cost perspective, work ethic and similar time zone.”

At present, the UK is experiencing a shortage in its candidate market and therefore, even more so, is looking to bring over skilled migrant workers as well as set up remote teams to fulfil job vacancies, said Ketz.

Locally, Ketz said that the trend for individuals to semigrate continues. “We are seeing individuals move, particularly from Johannesburg to Cape Town, where the daily lifestyle in Cape Town is very attractive, particularly for young individuals and families.

“This has become a very attractive option for individuals who may not be able to make the full emigration move abroad. Cape Town firms are also offering similar salaries to Johannesburg to attract and retain individuals, particularly in the ICT sector. Johannesburg-based companies need to look at creative ways of retaining good talent,” the specialist said.

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