Economics & Labour

Brain drain or drain gain?

Those who left SA to work abroad, and are caught up in the current financial maelstrom overseas find themselves in a double bind. Using LIFO, they will be vulnerable to retrenchment, and their work permit may be dependent on a job with that particular employer.  Jobless South Africans may find themselves at the end of the recruitment list with little hope of finding employment in the short to medium term.

Anecdotal evidence is that many South Africans are considering returning home where currently the prospects are more inviting.   Whilst South Africa is not immune to the economic devastation that is taking place overseas, it is in a better position to withstand these ravages than many other countries. This is because the regulation of our banking sector as well as the national Credit Act does not allow for the sorts of loans which triggered the current financial collapse.

However this is not a guarantee of a job for a returnee who may have to look for alternative ways of earning a living. And this may mean acquiring news skills or setting up in business on their own.

It stands to reason that with the economic turmoil elsewhere that South Africans in employment who may have been contemplating emigration, mainly because of the political situation and the Eskom fiasco of last year, will now think twice about uprooting to another country when there are no guarantees.

This will be to South Africa’s advantage. We are currently experiencing a massive skills shortage and although we have also had an injection of foreign skills, there are still gaps. The more skilled labour we can attract and retain, the more we can harness this into an engine for growth and opportunity.