South Africa's brain drain reversing
The so-called brain drain in South Africa is finally showing signs of reversing, with indications that skilled graduate professionals who have left the country are beginning to show signs of returning home, and with fewer of those who do remain, choosing to emigrate, says Mike Jackson, CEO of financial services company, PPS.
Jackson says the company has seen trends among its members that indicate they are considering returning home. “We have seen an increased interest from our overseas members to maintain and upgrade their benefits, which can be a good indicator that they intend returning to South Africa.”
According to the results of a recent Adcorp Employment Survey, about 39,000 South African job seekers returned from foreign countries over the past year and this figure is expected to rise to 120,000 as foreign work contracts expire.
“Also encouraging is the fact that we have seen a noticeable decrease in the number of our members cancelling their policies due to emigration.This suggests that many South African graduate professionals are not only more optimistic about the future in South Africa but are also seeing improved career prospects here as well,” says Jackson.
Jackson, who says that with its niche target membership, PPS is uniquely placed to track trends among South African graduate professionals, suggests there may be a number of factors behind the trend.
“European markets are struggling financially at the moment, so tougher employment conditions overseas, coupled with increased visa restrictions in the UK – traditionally the route for many South African expatriates – and a successful hosting of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, have prompted many South Africans to reconsider moving overseas,” he says.
Jackson says that while the return of those who left the country is a positive development, there are some important points South African expatriates need to bear in mind when returning home, such as whether their life and healthcare benefits are still applicable.
“Insurance cover can vary substantially between countries and it is important to bear in mind that switching providers typically involves waiting periods on new medical insurance, critical illness and disability policies as well as pre-existing condition exclusions which may apply to some insurance policies and medical insurance.
“It is important for anyone who is considering returning home to engage with a qualified financial adviser, who will be familiar with all the challenges entailed with helping someone returning from overseas and how best to structure your various policies and benefits,” says Jackson.