The complexities of Africa recruitment - The Finance Team

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The complexities of Africa recruitment

The complexities of Africa recruitment are varied and there are a number of key issues that one needs to take into consideration when recruiting for the African market. Let it be said, expanding operations into Africa has to be a well thought out and thoroughly researched exercise. Africa is a continent that provides challenges like no other; from the lack of basic infrastructure, like electricity and roads, to the vastly different cultures that have opposing belief systems, these are all challenges that need to be overcome for a successful expansion of operations into the continent.

Finding the right talent for Africa

We are not here to discuss the merits and motivations for your expansion strategy; we are here to discuss the complexitiesof Africa recruitment. Africa is a hard and brutal continent to conquer and recruiting the ‘right people for the job’ is more complicated than it may initially seem. Finding the right financial executives (Financial Managers and Financial Directors), even more so. It is advisable that companies searching for executive financial talent to fulfil these roles, consider all the options available to them. These options are; recruitment agencies, financial outsource specialists or private contractors.

Cost associated with Africa recruitment

A major factor to take into consideration when discussing the complexities of Africa recruitment is the exorbitant  expense of sourcing, securing, training and relocating talent (and that is before one has even factored in remuneration packages). Due to this expense, there has been a global trend towards outsourcing financial talent on a part time, project or interim basis. By using an outsource service provider, companies are able to secure the best possible talent for their Africa operations without bankrupting themselves in the process. In essence, what this means is that instead of permanently relocating or employing a permanent Financial Resource (Financial Manager or Financial Director), companies are turning to financial outsource companies to fulfil this need. Two return fights a month from South Africa, two weeks of accommodation, two weeks of transportation, and two weeks of remuneration are far more palatable for an organisation than a complete relocation. In general, financial outsource companies do not charge placement fees for their executives.

Mitigation of risk

By using outsource companies you mitigate your risk of a possible unsuccessful recruitment process. There have been many cases of companies selecting and recruiting a Financial Director only for that Financial Director to resign two months later. The negative cost implications speak for themselves, but besides the obvious monetary losses, there is a loss of man hours, interruption of service or the possible comprise on the level of service offered by the company, not to mention having to start the process all over again, putting pressure on your Africa division and local office (somebody will have to fulfil that need until the next appropriate candidate can be selected). If you engage with an outsource company they have financial managers and financial directors that have made a career of providing a part-time solution on a permanent basis.

Experience

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest complexities of Africa recruitment is experience within a variety of African countries. What works in Ghana my not necessarily work in Nigeria. The corporate culture in Botswana may be completely different in Namibia even though they are neighbours geographically.  If at all possible, try to source financial executives who have had some years of experience within different African based operations. They will already have an established network within those regions which can only benefit your organisation. This experience, however, comes at a premium. Perhaps rather than looking for a permanent staffing solution you should consider engaging a specialist financial outsource agency who have these high calibre, quality and experienced financial executives on a part-time, interim or project basis.

There is not one “right” solution. There is only the solution that works best for your organisation.

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