Returning expats 'optimistic about SA'
2 December 2009
A recent survey conducted among a group of returning South African executives found their primary reason for coming back was to be reunited with family and friends and to be more involved in the country's development.
The study also found the economic downturn played a role, but it was not the primary motivator for the growing numbers of South Africans heading back, according to executive recruitment company Mindcor.
Most respondents had expressed concern about the high levels of crime, but had accepted this as the price they would have to pay to enjoy the many benefits the country had to offer, Mindcor director Sam Schlimper said in a statement on Tuesday.
"It was encouraging to see how positive all of the returnees who were surveyed were about the future in South Africa, and the majority said that they wanted to be a part of that future."
The majority of those surveyed said they had felt safer in countries like Australia and the United Kingdom, but considered having to get used to living with crime a small price to pay for the quality of life offered by South Africa. Almost all those surveyed said they were glad they had taken the plunge to work abroad as it had enriched their lives.
Among whites surveyed, only a small percentage saw affirmative action and black employment equity as a hurdle to finding employment.
Homecoming Revolution, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping expats return home, said there had been an increase in the number of enquiries they receive, and a growing number of South Africans were returning home.
Homecoming Revolution managing director Martine Schaffer said the organisation's website was receiving 8 500 visitors a month and around 200 calls a month from expats wanting information about the situation in South Africa, prior to taking the plunge to up stakes and head home.
"Every time we have our exhibition overseas where we highlight prospects in South Africa and spread the word on job opportunities, we meet numerous expats who are thinking of heading home."
At their last fair in London some 1 200 people attended, she said.
She estimated there were around two-million expatriates living mostly in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.
Statistics from The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) showed 2 508 of its members were currently working in the UK, 1 319 in Australia, and 740 in the United States.
"However, what is encouraging to note is that the majority of members - 24 455 - have chosen to remain at home," Saica chief executive Matsobane Matlwa said.
Despite this encouraging figure, Saica estimated the shortfall of qualified chartered accountants was now 500 a year.