Companies Shift HR Approach To Africa

Johannesburg – New investments by South African corporates is overwhelmingly directed towards expanding into other, higher growth parts of the continent. Against this backdrop there is expected to be a shift in the type of deployment used by companies for staff moves in Africa.

This is according to Deloitte, which has conducted a survey to investigate the impact of key economic and human resource trends on mobility in Africa.

“Over the last three to four years, there’s been a huge focus on Africa as a new growth engine,” explained Matthew Hart, senior tax manager for Deloitte South Africa.

More than 60 individuals from organisations, with a strong business presence on the continent, across 7 industry sectors participated in the survey.

Deloitte’s survey found South African companies making new investments are targeting other, higher-growth, parts of the continent. Of those local companies surveyed without a presence elsewhere in Africa, 80 percent reported an intention to build such a presence within the next year.

The survey targeted people employed in human resources and tax professionals as well as company executives keen to invest in, or further in, Africa.

It also found the bulk of companies (88%) do not have a specific policy for when they transfer staff into Africa, and 96% do not have a policy for moving employees back out of Africa.

In addition, notes Deloitte, very few families accompany expatriates when they relocate within Africa, and half of all expatriates are single.

Deloitte notes there is a general view that the number of expatriates seconded to Africa will increase in the future, but there will be a shift in the deployment approaches companies use. Some 80% of respondents said individuals who move to and from Africa on local employment terms will increase in the next 2 years.

However, the survey found 50 percent of moves are currently on a home-based compensation approach. In terms of the home based approach, the employee’s principal employment with their home country employer is suspended while they are seconded to a host country in terms of a secondment agreement.

The survey report also revealed while career development is the catalyst for the majority of outbound assignments from Africa, skills transfer remains a key reason for companies sending employees both to and within Africa.

Another key trend to emerge from the report is that a range of security allowances and support is typically provided by companies to individuals assigned into Africa

“As an emerging market with increasing skill and staffing demands, companies should consider how to overcome not only the issue of security, but also rising assignment costs, integration difficulties and the lack of spousal support normally provided, to ensure an optimum level of return on investment for both the business and the assignee,” said Hart.

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The article was published on IOL under Business Report section.

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