Offshore Professionals Queue for Jobs in South Africa

Recruitment agencies have reported a dramatic increase in the number of international professionals and South Africans living abroad who are seeking employment in South Africa after the waves of retrenchments that have hit the US and Europe.

Penny Chaskelson, the managing director of The Personnel Concept, said the agency had seen an increase of between 20 percent and 25 percent in international professionals inquiring about employment opportunities in South Africa.

“There has been a dramatic increase in responses from all over the world, and that is first and foremost a result of the global financial crunch,” she said. “However, this has also been exacerbated by the fact that some professionals were already happy to move to any location for the right job.”

Georgina Barrick, the managing director of Renwick Talent, said the group had seen a jump in inquiries about employment opportunities in South Africa since September.

Some were from South Africans who had been working in financial services outside the country, mostly in the investment and banking sectors.

“We are receiving about five applications a week and about two-thirds of these are South Africans,” she said. Approaches had come from London and other European capitals, but there had been sudden interest from Egypt, with four inquiries from that country last week.

Martin Westcott, the chief executive of Production Engineers Corporate Services, said the trend of international professionals seeking jobs in the country was logical because the South African economy was still showing some growth.

He said the trend had come at a time when South Africa needed to recruit more skilled professionals to reduce inefficiencies across the spectrum.

“This is as a result of skills shortages. Some companies were even failing to realise their employment equity targets, due to a lack of appropriately skilled personnel.

“The arrival of these personnel in the country could provide us with the opportunity of skills transfer,” he said.

In apparent validation of this trend, the Umsobomvu Youth Fund said that it had taken advantage of the situation by recruiting 20 skilled professionals who would be partnered with 40 young South Africans to develop their skills.

Malose Kekana, the fund’s chief executive, said 15 skilled professionals had been identified. They would be partnered with local youths “with the purpose of grooming them for us. We have put the effects of the financial crisis to good use.”

Kekana said the professionals would not have great cost implications for the fund, as Umsobomvu would pay only for their flights, accommodation and meals.

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