Deloitte SA Blog


How will CEOs overcome the challenge of accessing and attracting the best talent in Africa?

With an increase in activity within the emerging market space, and the opportunities of the new revenue streams this space presents, companies are increasing their focus on sourcing the right talent and moving the talent around in an optimal manner. The trend on global workforce mobility is becoming increasingly important, which indicates that the way our workforce is sourced, managed and deployed is going to change drastically over the next ten years.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the content of this article in more detail, Helen Bimbassis from RecruitTalent at Deloitte would love to hear from you! You can contact Helen on +27 (0)11 209 8772 or +27 (0)83 288 3748 or at Why don’t you visit the Deloitte RecruitTalent home page and see what they are all about?

How will CEOs overcome the challenge of accessing  and attracting the best talent in Africa?

by Helen Bimbassis of Deloitte RecruitTalent

We envision that by the year 2020 there will be an increase in international assignments, which will further contribute to an increase in overall global mobility. The world continues to shrink as technology links people across time zones, cultures and language divides.

One of the biggest challenges most company CEOs face is access to the best talent, as this is one of the most critical factors for their business growth strategy.

Africa, today, is one of the emerging markets that most companies are exploring and expanding into. Africa exhibits risks and opportunities seen in countries like China and  India during the early 1990s. Back then, few global players knew how to react when these countries opened up their markets for business. It was difficult to assess how serious or committed their governments were, and yet – companies that took in capital early have lucrative businesses today. New regimes in North Africa have yet to demonstrate their intention, while in Sub-Saharan Africa lives the deadly scourge of AIDS and has singularly reduced life expectancy at birth by a staggering 10 years, all of which contributes to the brain-drain phenomena.

In a paper presented at the Institute for African Studies and Slovenia Global Action (“African Migration and the Brain Drain”), the following statistics were provided:

  • An estimated 300,000
    African professionals live and work outside the continent
  • Since 1990, Africa has
    lost 20,000 professionals each year
  • About 30,000
    Sub-Saharan Africans holding PhDs now live outside Africa
  • To fill the gap caused
    by this brain drain, Africa employs up to 150,000 expatriate professionals at a
    cost of $4-billion annually

The big question most companies are asking is, “How can we safeguard the talent pipeline in order to access the very best talent?”

Without a doubt, businesses and governments need to increasingly work together in addressing the emerging talent gaps. Governments need to invest in education to improve the supply of people with good skills, and a stable political environment would ensure that those skills remain on the relevant countries’ shores.

Businesses need to focus on virtual tools, as technology will move beyond its role as a business enabler and will become further ingrained in the life and work styles of the future workforce, while also changing employee and business expectations and interactions with one another and the world around them. Savvy young workers flock to companies that best adapt to innovative technology to meet market needs. This is already evident from companies such as Google, who receive 1,300 résumés a day.

One needs to take into consideration how business will be operating, and how one maintains the leading edge on attracting and retaining talent in this new and ever changing environment.

Do you have any comments! We would love to hear from you!

Do you have any questions or would like to discuss this subject in more detail? Helen Bimbassis from RecruitTalent at Deloitte
would love to hear from you! You can contact Helen on +27 (0)11 209 8772 or +27 (0)83 288 3748 or at Why don’t you visit the Deloitte RecruitTalent home page and see what they are all about?


Category: Executive Leadership, Talent & Human Capital

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3 Responses

  1. John LUdike says:

    There are good examples of both international as well as companies in SA who are very effectively offshoring and outsourcing knowledge rich STEM talent deliverables to locations where overall talent ecosystem inclusive of technology eg. Free 4G Wi Fi is further enabling and greatly improves time to market ?

    Many locations also are great attractors for Diasphora talent as compensation and benefits $ denomination based and in many instances tax free.

    Additionally organisation’s should guard at over assessing and under developing talent and look to leverage deployment and mobility as sources of competitive differentiation.

    • David Graham says:

      Hi John. Thank you for your comment. Can you be more specific in erms of organisations that are making a difference (ie investing time, capital and resources)? Regards David Graham

  2. John LUdike says:

    MTN, Etisalat, Telephonica, Bharti Airtel these are as I am sure you know all Telecoms however numerous Banks and Financial Services concerns as well. Regional talent hubs/ communities being created in order to make best use of tax and currency efficient as well as flexible global contracts to ensure talent mobility.

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