“People see South Africa as the landing point in terms of moving up through Africa. South African companies are at the forefront of that and are trying to find people with local knowledge but with international expertise and great education to head up companies in the rest of Africa,” Megan de Villiers, a strategist at Homecoming Revolution told CNBC Africa on Friday.
She further explained that Homecoming Revolution, the platform for African skills repatriation, have begun expanding their footprint into countries like Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana in order to search for the skills that South Africa lacks for the corporate world.
Businesses in the financial services industry, construction, engineering, broadcasting and information technologies are where skills are currently short in the country.
While this trend may be good for the continent as a whole, it also means that South African graduates may find it even more challenging to find work as foreign professionals from Africa begin filling in the top skilled vacancies.
This may further impact South Africa’s Department of Education as well as youth unemployment. De Villiers therefore stated that the country will need to really begin performing in order to ensure that South Africa is still ahead in terms of education and producing skilled professionals.
“We can’t assume that we’re at the frontier of growth through Africa. We really do have to try and put the best foot forward and make sure we’re in front of the pack,” she said.
As a means to retain local talent, the Homecoming Revolution group use an emotional hook to lure skilled South Africans living abroad to come back to South Africa.
“I think it is perceived to be more difficult than it is to bring South Africans home. It’s not just a tangible practical decision; it’s also an emotional one. There are a lot of family ties that bring South Africans back and also just a love and passion for the country,” explained de Villers.
As a result, the Homecoming Revolution attempts to appeal to the diaspora by exploring topics such as property value, education for children, finding out what their passions are and the need to make a difference in their country.
“It’s not always about the big salaries and the glittering lights of foreign cities. It’s about what you can do at home and make a difference.”