The term repats refers to the continent’s youngster who left their home country to continue their studies in Western Universities and wish to find good opportunities that would allow them to come back to Africa after the years of experience they have gained back in those places. This new wave of mostly trained professionals represent a pot of gold for local companies that are struggling to find loads of ready to work professionals in the continent.
Like majority of Sub-saharan countries, the job market in Senegal is increasingly looking for people with advanced skilled and advanced technicality which the young professionals from the continent are missing due to vocational trainings that are most of the time too theoretical or too academic and consequently unfit to the reality of the country. Those youngsters who stayed in the continent will have to compete with the repats that had the privilege of developing their skills in multinationals and having a taste of a more competitive working environment. When the repats on one side are very much aware of what it would mean to sell their international experiences to the continent based companies, the locals on the other side can barely realise that in the end, they will be reduced to doing staff support or administration positions if they don’t do an assessment to identify their strengths and develop their expertise.
We have noticed 4 essential habits to adopt in order to keep one’s employment value as we grow a career in a competitive and demanding environment.
Needless to say that vocational training is the foundation of a successful professional career. Presently thanks to the internet you can find several specialization under the acronym MOOC. Those vocational training are made by professors from prestigious universities and sometimes necessite a few dollars in exchange for a full access to knowledge. Platforms like Coursera Udemy or edX allow you to have unlimited access to high quality ressources and certifications at the end of each course.
Information is power! For a full understanding of the issues that the companies based in the Continent are facing, you need to listen and therefore participate in fairs, conventions, open houses or just do some chatting with friends and acquaintances that happen to work in those places so you can know the skills they are looking for and how you could anticipate their needs and consequently make a good impression at the job interview.
You can also read Choose Africa: a project that helps the African SME
Have a good understanding of the environment–
If there is something that the repats do not really have is a good knowledge of the environment. After spending years away from the Continent and its issues, they are not aware of the environment in which the companies are evolving. It would be wise for the locally based professional to sell his knowledge of the environment and its challenges on the results of the company. It would be a major advantage because it will show that you have skills in understanding and analyzing your environment.
Work on your branding-
If you have all the necessary skills, you will then need to be able to sell yourself. You will need to know the product (yourself) and always display it at its best. Not being able to sell our best product just because we don’t know it well enough would be sad.
Basically, the repats that are entering the job market on the Continent, represent a wake up call for the young local professionals who will need to develop their skills up to an international standing, just like professionals from the rest of the world, so they can be up to competition and remain relevant in a globalized environment.