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From South Africa to the world: The case for a global career

  • September 27 2019
9 minutes to read

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While emigration is nothing new for many South Africans, there has been a notable increase in the past few years. According to the FNB Estate Agents Survey for the first quarter of 2019, emigration-driven property sales now account for 14.2% of all sales. This is a notable increase from 10% in the fourth quarter of 2018, and double that of the first quarter of 2018. While the reasons are manifold — spanning the usual suspects of concerns around politics, the economy and safety — South Africans are also increasingly being poached by international organisations to pack up their things, hop on a plane and apply their skills abroad.

Why would someone want to work overseas? Well, for starters, globalisation has made international mobility easier for people across the professional spectrum. (We wrote about this previously, so be sure to check out that blog post  .) But the financial factor also can’t be ignored. Volatile rand aside, South African expats are earning up to three times as much for the same work as they did back home. This is especially alluring to young professionals who have most of their professional lives ahead of them. A study by HSBC has found that those who move abroad before the age of 35 see bigger increases to their earnings and get promoted more quickly.

Let’s examine why.

Our reputation precedes us

South Africans have a reputation as being hard workers who are well educated, technically proficient and in touch with international current events — all of which make us more likely to be poached by international organisations than our contemporaries in other countries. This international viability is only amplified by our perceived work ethic. A 2017 study by multinational best practice insight and technology company CEB Global revealed that South African workers are some of the most hard-working in world, with discretionary effort levels double that of the global average.

When you factor in how communication technology facilitates remote working — making it possible for South Africans to work for global brands without having to relocate fully — an international career becomes that much more attainable.

Local education, global ambitions

While South African universities have always had a great reputation around the world, this has historically been relatively confined to a select number of STEM fields and institutions. Our universities equipped Chris Barnard to perform the first heart transplant; Alan Cormack to help develop the CAT scan; Vivian Alberts to revolutionise solar energy technology.

“South African graduates are among the most sought after in the world because of the high quality of education they get from our universities.” – Professor Basie von Solms, University of Johannesburg

“We are privileged that South Africa has some of the best universities and technical training facilities in the world producing top class professionals… Our universities are also among the most affordable in the world,” – Len de Villiers, former Telkom CIO

Today, South African tertiary education holds up on the global stage across disciplines — notably in the business and management realm. This is perhaps most evident here at The University of Stellenbosch Business School, as we are one of only three institutions across the entire African continent to hold the renowned triple crown of international accreditation: AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA. What’s more, as of 2019, there are only 90 business schools in the entire world that have this highly sought after accreditation trifecta.

Set yourself up for success

If you’re an aspiring South African business leader looking to make a lasting impact at home and abroad, make sure to choose a qualification that’s attractive to international businesses and that’s unquestioned globally. With an MBA or similar degree from a triple-accredited and internationally recognised institution like the University of Stellenbosch Business School, you can fast-track success wherever your ambitions take you. Use our Programme Finder today to find the perfect course for you.

There’s a programme for every journey. Find yours today.

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