A closer look at current developments in the executive recruitment space from a South African perspective

Written by Alison Hassan on Jun 04, 2019


There are many opportunities that are being presented in Africa. As such, we are seeing countless foreign countries making strides onto the continent. For example, China has made massive investments into Africa over the last number of years. Although this bodes well for the economy of the continent, this trend has not seen as many benefits in the executive recruitment space.

The infiltration of global recruitment companies

In Africa, there are a number of leading industries. For example, at the moment Angola is the fifth-largest diamond producer in the world. A staggering 60% of their current diamond reserves are untapped, which makes it a very attractive resource for foreign countries seeing that the majority of the world’s diamond mines are not producing significant yields.

The challenge is that countries such as Angola are partnering with foreign countries in order to bring these resources to market. These foreign entities are recruiting their own people – using foreign companies – and are sending them into the African countries.

As a South African executive recruitment agency, we know the African market and what type of individual will be the best fit for the African culture. However, with foreign recruitment companies being used to source executive candidates for jobs in Africa, there is always the distinct probability that these recruits will not be suitable for the environment or the task at hand.

Localisation in South Africa

The recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by StatsSA states that, at the end of 2018, the unemployment rate was 27.1%. This equates to 6.1 million people being unemployed. In order to decrease this figure, employing locals as opposed to foreigners has been prioritised.

The challenge that this poses is that there are some areas where the skills necessary are just not present among the local population so to ensure the smooth running of the business skills need to be imported. However, this is not happening.

The trend towards localisation is particularly evident in the executive recruitment space. Many clients are choosing to hire internally because of cost pressures and other similar business imperatives. However, what is being seen is that executive key talent is not present in the ‘packages’ that clients want. As a result, these positions are being left vacant for months upon months with people – who do not tick all the boxes that a company needs – fulfilling the required role but not being rewarded with the position.

We are confident that, with our expansion, we will be well poised to source key executive talent - for foreign entities looking at doing business in Africa - who will be a fit in terms of skills as well as for the unique environment that Africa presents.


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