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More professionals in search of a better work life outside of South Africa, global study reveals

More young South African working professionals are willing to relocate for work compared to their contemporaries around the rest of the world, according to new research by the The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network, in association with CareerJunction.

The study, which surveyed 366,000 jobseekers and 6,000 recruiters in 197 countries, was conducted to determine mobility preferences of talent around the world, reasons to move abroad and key elements that jobseekers want in a job.

More professionals in search of a better work life outside of South Africa, global study reveals

Of the respondents, 57% said that they would move to another country for work. This number, however, is much greater for South Africans, where 71% of respondents (young and working professionals) said that they are willing to relocate for work. The study also showed that South Africans’ willingness to relocate increased from 64% in 2014.

“The research revealed quite a few idiosyncrasies among young working South African professionals. More of them are willing to travel abroad for work and see it as an opportunity to improve their skills and secure their careers. Many multinationals can offer exactly what these young people are looking for, both in international markets and in South Africa. For example, we see in our BCG office in South Africa that employees have instant access to global Digital and AI experts, thanks to BCG’s global network of 80 offices, and opportunities to temporarily transfer to another BCG office through internal programs. What is important is that the skills that South Africans learn while working for multinationals, are brought back to contribute to the betterment of South Africa,” says Stefano Niavas, Partner and Managing Director at BCG in South Africa.

So, where are South Africans looking to relocate to?

According to the study, the US remains the most favourable work location for South Africans — even amid the volatility of its national politics - followed by Australia, the UK, Canada and Germany. New Zealand, the UAE, France, China and Switzerland also fell in the top 10 most desirable countries to work. Comparing 2018 findings to those of 2014, China moved up a staggering 23 places, indicating a growing desire among South Africans to work there. The UAE moved up three places.

Why? What are South Africans after?

South Africans seem to have unique work preferences compared to the rest of the globe. While respondents around the globe listed things like “good relationships with colleagues” and “good relationships with superiors” as top motivating factors for relocating, South African respondents tend to value “career development possibilities” and “learning and skills training” more. “Good work-life balance”, however, was listed in the top three motivating factors for South Africans and the rest of the world. So, while workers around the globe are more focused on intrinsic workplace rewards, such as those provided by good interpersonal office relationships, South Africans seem to be more set on future-proofing their careers and attaining the necessary skills to secure work and grow within their careers. Other factors that are listed as important for South Africans include “job security” and “company values”.

This comes as no surprise given South Africa’s high unemployment rate and, ultimately, the competitive nature of SA’s job market.

Global attractiveness of South Africa

South Africa, on the other hand, seems to be a less attractive location to work for most respondents across the globe. Out of the 198 participating countries, SA ranked at #40, compared to #27 in 2014. African countries that indicated a desire to work in South Africa include Angola in top position, followed by Ivory Coast, Kenya, Benin, Ghana (down 4 places since 2014), Cameroon and Nigeria (down five places from 2014), among others.

For more findings on this study, read the full report here:

About CareerJunction

CareerJunction is South Africa’s #1 Quality Candidate Provider. We connect over 3,000 Recruiters and over 2.8 Million jobseekers online in a safe and secure environment and have been at the forefront of innovation in the Online Recruitment market in South Africa since 1997.

For more information:
Odile Badenhorst
Tel: +27 21 818 8600
Email: az.oc.noitcnujreerac@elido

About Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customised approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organisation. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organisations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with offices in more than 90 cities in 50 countries. For more information, please visit

About BCG in Africa

Our presence in Africa includes four permanent offices in Johannesburg, Lagos, Luanda and Casablanca, and seven research centres. BCG projects on the continent cover a large spectrum of industry sectors including Financial Institutions, Energy, Industrial Goods, Consumer Products, Healthcare, Technology, and the Public Sector.

Our mission in is clear — to create positive economic, social, and environmental impact on the continent.

For more information:
Arnold Tshimanga
Tel: +27 11 548 2000
Email: az.oc.namhsielf@agnamihsT.dlonrA

CareerJunction is one of South Africa's top-quality candidate providers, with thousands of jobs advertised online daily and over three million registered jobseekers.

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