The challenges of finding and recruiting talents in Africa were in the heart of the discussions at the African Leadership Forum (ALF) that took place in Paris, on september 8th. The World Bank had some of its human ressouces executives coming from Washington to take part of the event. The process that come with finding and recruiting talents is not an easy one, that is the why The World Bank partenered with Talent2Africa to identify those profiles and offer them positions within the Group. Therefor Talent2Africa was at the forefront of the organisation with the mission to not only do some hiring and networking but also plan forums on women entrepreneurship, digital ecosystem, startups financing, agribusiness, and talent attraction.²

At the ALF, the World Bank succeeded in bringing together a dozen of recruiters who then met with selected candidates. There were discussions on investment and gender but the recruitment issue remained the main topic of the day.

Towards an “Africanisation of talents”

Every year, nearly 12 million young African graduates find themselves on the job market, however not all of them are qualified. Since finding talents is hard, the African diaspora its self is not sufficient to fill the management needs the continent is suffering from. Also, that African disapora cost money since their profile is considered as an “international talent” with high standing salary wise. That is because they know both  the Western working culture and ethics and the social and economical situation of the country they are sent in. Their profiles are interesting but rather expensive. Benoit Martin from Talent2Africa, points out that the only way one can get them is through attractive salaries. For these reasons, recruitment experts favor local trainings and know-how transfer from the sometimes dissuasive expatriates.

Cédric Filet, founder and CEO of Aldalia, a recruitment and human resources (HR) firm dedicated to Africa, also underlined the importance of skill transmission: “In 2009, 270 of our employees – meaning 100% of our staff – were expats and now our team is a 100% local. That local team is currently training our staff in management, finance and recruitment in Mozambique”.

Recruiting local talents is a growing trend. “Executive and top management positions have remained the main areas of the expats for quite some time. Now things are changing and those positions are more and more entrusted to Africans: local talents or Africans from different regions” confirms Benoit Martin from Talent2Africa. However, intra-African mobilities mainly happens in the same region, with a common linguistic base. Mr. Martin adds: “We have a big number of profiles coming from the Maghreb who occupy managerial functions in sub-Saharan Africa. The intra African mobility is a reality today and is intended to grow.”

Reconnect trainings to the job market

Thousands of Malian students graduate every year in Humanities, whereas the country has only about 10 dermatologists for 15 million people, with a prevalence of skin diseases approaching 30%. One can wonder: how to reconnect trainings to the market needs?  

Technician degrees have become scarce in recruiting firms and short trainings are on the rise.  A trend which is confirmed according to the annual report from ONEF showing situational analysis of the labor market. The report highlights the fact that there is a 27% increase  in the number of technician graduates and CAP over the last 3 years, particularly in Mali. 

Meanwhile, the integration of international best practices is taught in dedicated programs. Talent2Africa Academy has launched a “graduate program” that allows students to have a grasp of the cultural codes and habits of international groups. “Business partners recruit 10 to 15 high potential graduates. For 2 to 3 years they have a tutor mentoring them as they develop from one job to the other. They grow competences in different jobs and sectors and get to work on their soft skills. The company, thus, becomes a pool of managers” explains the CEO of Talent2Africa. Benoit, co-founder of Talent2Africa, points out that it is a long term multiparty task, and multiplies partnerships with prestigious French schools and universities such as HEC, ESSEC, Dauphine and even École Polytechnique.

The wage portage to secure recruitments

Nowadays, companies outsource more and more, including some HR services, . These companies are multiplying at the same time. “Numerous are the businesses that seek to penetrate the African market. And for that reason they would need firms like ours for wage portage. We are offering this opportunity by doing recruiting the right way” says Cédric Filet, CEO and founder of Aldélia. Thanks to the local teams, the organisation can offer optimised recruitment services as well as payroll services, a solution built for businesses looking for specific competences for short or mid term projects. The client company then pays the fees negotiated during the interview with the employee, without bearing the employer’s contributions.  In general, companies that rely on wage portage need competences that are not easy to find and therefor can escape from long and costly recruiting process while breaking free from the regulatory requirements. This option attracts more international businesses,everyday, according to Cédric Filet, whose SME counts around 450 employees present in about 10 African countries.

CSR, include social issues

To highlight the impact of employment in the environment of the employee, Edwige-Laure Moumbouli, founder of Communic’Action agency, states that:“Recruiting within SME’s is intrinsically linked to CSR for an employee. With his sole salary, he could be responsible for up to 10 people in his family. So in Africa, creating jobs can already be considered as CSR”. While the inclusivity of job creation in Africa is well established, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is also associated with rules and costs.

Initially an Anglo-Saxon concept, CSR is part of the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. “Commonwealth countries are already ahead on this matter”, says Pierre-Samuel Guedj,,  CEO of the United Nations Affectio Mutandi, a Parisian company specialized in CSR on the continent. However, on the Francophone level: “Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Morocco are very involved on the subject matter and are strong levers of economic and social development”, Pierre-Samuel Guedji adds.

Despite the good intentions African entrepreneurs have, there is a lack of HR-structures and strategies coming from the SME’s which are still not getting enough support for the additional and optional constraints that are part of the CSR. It is an optional step to take but yet very important.

Beyond the guidelines of ILO, OECD and UN, the measured results on the continent remain a part of the “maturity and prior experiences of the actors”. Particularly in states that guarantee “the elaboration, the vote and the application of the laws. Especially because they play a central role in the application of the standards of good governance in a company” adds Pierre-Samuel Guedj.

Despite the application of the latest international CSR guidelines, the development of new national regulations, the arrival of digital HR tools and the expectations of African “Millennials”, the recruitment sector in Africa is changing fast.

Translated from original article in FR: https://afrique.latribune.fr/decideurs/opportunites/2018-09-19/la-banque-mondiale-s-offre-une-campagne-de-recrutement-a-paris-790966.html