CFC Africa Insights: Human resources trends in Africa
Understanding local practices to apprehend the complexity

As organizations rethink their business models - redesigning work to harness the power of technology and adjust to a fast and changing world - it’s clear they can’t succeed without making people a priority.

Attracting the right talent is crucial to capitalize on the economic boom in Africa. Growth trends in the African continent are expected to reach unprecedented levels. Indeed, by 2050, the region will have a larger and younger workforce than China or India.

Employers need to reshape their current approaches on human resources and pivot their business models in the changing landscape.

Is Africa ready to pivot to a humancentric model?

While the world is embracing a shared and on-demand economy, many countries in Africa are still grappling with an old world order. Ultimately, many African countries prefer familiarity over change. As such, a number of legacy issues are acting as barriers to African labor trends including culture historical influence, legislative influence, political influence and economic influence.

Africa offers an attractive economic potential due to, amongst other things, the diversity of its natural resources, its young demographic profile, the emergence of a middle class with greater purchasing power and increasing urbanization. It is for these various reasons that multinationals are hastily trying to penetrate this market; but in doing so; they are often misled into considering Africa as a perfectly homogenous region or even a single country.

In reality, it is a geographical group of 54 countries with as many cultures, languages, currencies, and economic profiles, and whose surface area exceeds that of the United States, China, India and all of Europe combined.

It is therefore essential to understand the economic, demographic, political and cultural context of the various African countries in order to better apprehend human resources issues and stay abreast of emerging trends; this is the key to success!

Interestingly, culture and legislation drive a big portion of influence where factors such as employee reward compensation is largely determined by individual nationalities and countries. Within Africa there are two distinct payment structures - Francophone (which involves multiple cash allowances) and Anglophone (which is a consolidated approach including a salary, bonus and benefits).

Africa’s unique labor market

How does this affect the labor market? Ultimately it is vital for employers to take cultural nuances into account in order to hire with purpose. According to our 2018 Talent Trends study, embedding a higher sense of purpose into the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) unlocks individual potential and spurs people to be change agents. To find purpose, employees crave movement, learning, and experimentation. If not received, they will look for it elsewhere. For example, 39% of South African employees satisfied in their current job still plan to leave due to a perceived lack of career opportunity.

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