In August, Accelerate Cape Town hosted their latest thought leadership event titled "Stemming the Talent Exodus and Securing SA's Future Pipeline." The keynote was delivered by Dr Shirley Zinn, and participants then had the opportunity to discuss the business risks associated with the talent exodus in South Africa.
- Statistics show that an increasing number of skilled South Africans are emigrating - this is not a new trend, but the numbers are increasing. Not included in the stats are those who 'emigrate virtually' by earning offshore.
- Reasons are complex and to address this, it is important to look at the root cause - there are multiple factors and there isn't an easy way to offset the loss of skills by using the huge number of unemployed people.
- Dr Zinn asked if business leaders are investing enough in the skills of the future - are companies listening to employees and adapting/customising roles as far as possible? Covid-19 and work-from-home has rendered a lot of policies impractical and out of date.
- Companies are concerned about succession planning - the age group emigrating tends to be between 20-40 years old. How do we, as South African business leaders, retain our talent? If people do want the opportunity to work abroad, how do we help them return? The so-called Great Resignation affected many companies in South Africa too, where people decided to pursue 'higher purpose living.' How can companies adjust their EVP to compensate - and monetary compensation is not the answer.
- Generation Alpha are on their way into the workplace. This generation, while still in school, are not interested in compromising on their purpose, diversity or inclusion. Their number one priority will be a sense of belonging.
Partnership, at every level, is urgently required. Companies need to work hand-in-hand with the government but also with schools and universities to craft a multi-disciplinary approach. By being ambassadors for the opportunities that South Africa offers in terms of careers, we can counter the media negativity and overall focus on overt challenges such as load-shedding. If we look at the rate of unemployment and the hollowing out-of-the-tax base, we cannot afford to lose sight of this issue because it is creating a generational impact that will significantly impact on our future as a whole.
For more on this event and future events, please visit Accelerate.