Homecoming Trends Report 2019

On Wednesday 22nd May 2019 Homecoming Revolution, the “Brain Gain” headhunting firm for Africa, hosted a VIP Cocktail event at the Saxon Hotel where insights from the Homecoming Trends Report 2019 were shared.

Comment from Angel Jones (CEO of Homecoming Revolution):

“The findings of this qualitative survey have provided us with key insights into the opinions and motivations of South Africans, East Africans and West Africans living abroad. Contrary to popular belief, 34% of Africans want to return home and 22% are still undecided. This is highly encouraging.  We welcome recent commentary in the news that the SA economy should start to pick up after this next quarter, and we have faith that President Ramaphosa will help South Africa become a fertile environment to attract skills home.”

Homecoming Trends Report 2019 – Highlights

QUANTITATIVE GROUP

  • Total Respondents 1956. (approx. 2 000)
  • 83% South Africans
  • 11% West Africans
  • 6% East Africans

HOST COUNTRIES

  • 38% United Kingdom
  • 17% USA and Canada
  • 16% Europe
  • 15% Australia and New Zealand
  • 16% of our sample have already returned from working abroad.

WILL YOU RETURN HOME?

  • 34% YES
  • 22% Undecided
  • 44% No

SOME COMMENTS FROM THE SURVEY

  1. WAKANDA FOREVER
  1. I am often asked if I regret having moved back to South Africa (esp. considering the rapid decline in the country since my return 7 years ago) and my answer is always “no”. As I’ve got older, being “home” has grown in importance to me and I now know I’ll only leave SA again if really forced to.”
  1. “South Africans need to be more positive about their country, appreciate what they have and fight to keep it. I’m sick of being asked in disbelief why I left England. SA’s think everything is better abroad, they need a reality check!”

INSIGHTS

  • We have found that White South Africans and EE South Africans have spent the same amount of time abroad ie. there is no indication of a recent spike in EE South Africans moving abroad
  • A higher percentage of EE South Africans (46%) want to return than White South Africans (26%)

REASONS FOR LEAVING

  • Across all our respondent groups, the Number 1 reason for moving abroad is for Career Opportunities.
  • For both White South Africans and EE South Africans the 2nd reason for moving abroad is Economic Stability. Where the 3rd reason for White South Africans is Political Stability and the 3rd reason for EE South Africans is Improved Lifestyle.
  • From our 2015 report the Number 2 Reason for moving abroad was Travel. This has now slipped out of the Top 3 reasons for leaving
  • For both East and West Africans, the 2nd reason for moving abroad is Education Opportunities. With the 3rd reason being Economic Stability.

IF YOU’VE RETURNED, HOW LONG WERE YOU ABROAD?

  • Majority of East Africans returned after 2 – 5 years.
  • Majority of West Africans returned after 5 – 10 years.
  • Majority of White South Africans returned after 5 – 10 years.
  • Majority of EE South Africans returned after 2 – 5 years.

AFRICAN PROFESSIONALS ABROAD

Of the main industry groups, the percentage split is as follows

  1. Financial services 21%
  2. IT and Tech 20%
  3. Healthcare 19%
  4. Advisory and Professional 18%
  5. Engineering 12%
  6. Consumer 10%

Job comment: “Recruitment firms in Africa can play a major role in connecting experienced professionals with potential employers.”

REASONS FOR RETURNING HOME

  • Friends and Family 24%
  • Sense of Belonging 17% and Weather & Lifestyle 17%
  • Making a Difference 10%
  • Career 5%
  • Crime Improvement 5%
  • Entrepreneurial Opportunities 5%
  • Political Stability 3%

FOR AFRICANS ABROAD, THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS IN THE WORKPLACE ARE:

  • Autonomy 21%
  • Flexi-time 18%
  • Purpose 18%
  • Career Path 15%
  • Education 13%
  • Surprisingly, Gender & Diversity did not rate as an important factor in the workplace.
  • Surprisingly, the respondents found that these important factors above were provided better abroad than at home
  • Overall, respondents feel that a company’s help in their relocation back home is important.

Survey Comment; “I would consider moving sooner if the right opportunity came up… However, things have to be put in place to attract those living abroad.”

Comments Angel Jones, “These findings prove that South African employers need to improve Autonomy, Career Path, Purpose and Flexi-time if they want to attract skills home”


CAN WE ALLEVIATE THE BRAIN DRAIN?

  • Overall, 45% of respondents believe we can alleviate the Brain Drain. 23% are undecided.
  • One would assume that the longer a person is a way, the more negative they are about Africa’s potential. Interestingly, there is no correlation whatsoever between negativity and years away.

General Comments;

“Working abroad is amazing, but Africa is my home. So many opportunities and so much potential.

“From the elections of May 8, 2019, I believe that SA has the opportunity to be on a new trajectory in so many ways.  Me and my family are seriously considering coming back.”

OTHER COMMENTS

  • Africans abroad have a lot to contribute to Africa, and now is the time.
  • Access to medical and dental (in SA) is far superior. Lifestyle is excellent. Cost of living is better in SA. …we have a great opportunity. But political leaders MUST put SA first and self-enrichment and divisiveness off the table. We must increase jobs and the tax base.
  • South Africans need to be more positive about their country. Appreciate what they have and fight to keep it. I’m sick of being asked in disbelief why I left England. SA’s think everything is better abroad, they need a reality check!
  • I have always had a desire to return and do something really useful with my life. I still believe SA can be that place.
  • South Africa is in my blood and heart.
  • South Africa is such a dynamic country and in a perfect world, South Africans, irrespective of race, creed or colour, should all come together to make it great…

Important Note to Set the Record Straight:

There are recent “brain drain” reports in the media where Homecoming Revolution has been quoted as stating that there are 2.7m South Africans abroad.  This was derived from a comment from Angel Jones (CEO) who spoke out of turn during an interview in March.  Jones apologises for this inappropriate and inaccurate statement.   In fact, Homecoming Revolution does not have the official figures of many South Africans are abroad.  Homecoming Revolution officially retracts this statement.

There is no indication of a “sudden” brain drain.  Today’s AfricaCheck article shows that statistics which have been recently quoted in the media, are in fact from a migration paper in 2003.  https://africacheck.org/reports/do-eight-professionals-leave-south-africa-for-every-one-that-comes-in/

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