All over the world, 1 May is recognised as Worker’s Day, a reminder to uphold workers’ rights and fair practices in the workplace. 


The trust factor for business to do right has increased significantly in the last two years up from 66%.  Studies show that 82% of employees globally trust that companies will do the right thing. Still, we cannot deny that business has a long way to go in creating competitively fair and safe work environments. In fact, reports show that pay inequalities persist as the CEO-to-worker pay ratio has soared over the years, despite efforts to highlight fair pay in South Africa and abroad. 


Similarly, the World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Report estimates that it will take an average of 135.6 years to reach gender parity due to COVID-19 as closing the gender pay gap remains elusive.


Why pay matters


According to Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends, employees across the globe rank competitive pay and fair pay practices as one of the top 10 reasons they join and stay with their organisations. For instance, employees in the Life Sciences industry rank competitiveness of pay as the number one reason to join an employer and 2 out 3 report that they are satisfied and not planning to leave. Employees in industries such as Chemicals, Energy, Financial Services and Manufacturing value competitive pay as the second most important reason to stay after job security. 


So, which are the highest paying industries in Africa?

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We pulled out the top 10 major economies in Africa by gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021 to give you a quick look at the top paying industries in the region
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While pay may not be the only important thing, it still remains the core foundation to the employee value proposition. Given that HR leaders are prioritising Addressing pay, gender and other equity gaps and Rethinking compensation plans in 2022, it is encouraging to see that HR leaders plan to protect the financial welfare of employees. 





Five Total Rewards Strategies for Talent Retention


  •  Offering more types of rewards and compensation (e.g. spot bonuses, gift cards, time off)
  • Increasing compensation for those below the benchmark today
  • Proactively adjusting pay to address internal equity 
  • Increasing employer benefits cost coverage to increase take-home pay
  • Increasing retention bonuses




Did you miss the previous Mercer Perspective newsletter?

Click here to find out what HR leaders are prioritising across Africa.


Trust and employability


The employee trust factor for employers to do right extends to learning and skills development. In fact, globally, 77% of employees say they trust their organisation to upskill or reskill them, if their job changes due to technology (up from 63%). Given that 87% of CEOs in Africa are concerned about skills shortage, it is not surprising that CEOs believe that investing in up/reskilling will deliver better business outcomes.

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Did you know that 65% of African CEOs believe that skills shortage was preventing them from innovating effectively, while 59% agreed that their quality standards and customer experience were being undermined? In addition, 54% confirmed that they were missing their growth targets because of inadequate skills.
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How aligned are CEOs and HR on this topic? Studies show that HR in Africa are also prioritising investing in skills and learning.  

What is HR prioritising in Africa




"Studies show that HR leaders in Africa are prioritising investing in skills and learning to increase employability and boost productivity. "


However, there are several barriers facing HR leaders, such as concern that reskilled/upskilled talent will leave, inability to keep up with pace of emerging skill needs, inability to specify actual skill gaps and so forth. Considering that the opportunity to continuously develop and learn is one of the top 10 reasons employees join and stay in an organisation, it is time that HR leaders find ways to remove some of the barriers to designing a learning culture. 



Six Steps to Getting Started


  1.  Audit your readiness to become a skills-based organisation
  2. Know your skills advantage
  3. Help managers know the skills they have on their team
  4.  Understand the skills-work gap
  5. Enable employees to develop
  6. Develop a pay-for-skills approach aligned to your company’s future skill needs


Competitive and fair pay


Employees rank competitive pay as the third most important reason to stay. Kick-start your journey towards a competitively fair pay strategy with Africa’s most comprehensive salary survey. 


Build a talent ecosystem


Getting started or looking to accelerate your skills development programme? Build a vibrant and resilient talent ecosystem that can meet your company’s skill needs.



Global Mobility Foundations Course


Build expertise in expatriate compensation and benefits and their application for different types of Mobility. Course available in May and November. 




Did you know that CEOs rank investing in learning and skills development their #1 most critical workforce investment in 2022? Help your HR team step with Mercer Learning. Click here to learn more.


HR has played a critical to organisational trust


Evidently, organisation trust is up as employees expect companies to do right, despite challenges facing many organisations. CEOs acknowledge that HR has played a significant role in bringing employees and organisations closer during the pandemic, taking different roles to lead, guide and direct companies through the pandemic. Yet, HR cannot drive trust singlehandedly. It is up to every business leader to lead with empathy and get it right in order to deliver better business outcomes.  

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