Take good care of your IT team before they get poached

10 Jul

Technology is alive and well in South Africa’s growing economy, but sadly, qualified professionals in the field are rare. This means bad things for South Africa’s future as more and more skilled tech professionals jet off to explore greener pastures (and salaries) abroad.

Tertiary facilities in South Africa are on a par with some of the best training centres in the world and as such we have produced many ICT and skilled engineers. Sadly, these skilled professionals are quickly realising that foreign countries such as Australia, the UK and USA, offer up to three times as much remuneration and in those countries where their qualifications are fully recognised.

Affordable universities in SA are producing sought after professionals

With the high level of affordable education that these youngsters are getting from our universities, it’s little wonder that they are highly sought after from other countries. As the tech industry in South Africa seems to be losing skilled professionals at a high rate, one has to wonder what could be done to keep South Africa’s talent back home where they have studied, at a cost in part to tax payers!

Beyond the fact that engineers and ICT professionals are leaving the country, it would also seem that skilled professionals in the field, applying for skilled visas to come and live and work in South Africa, are also being turned away. Less than 60% of all rare skills visa applications for highly skilled foreigners are approved by home affairs.

How do we keep IT skills in South Africa?

What exactly do South African businesses need to do to ensure that ICT professionals and engineers actually stick around and help to develop the IT infrastructure and security of our own businesses?

For starters, it would appear that these professionals need to be appreciated for their skills and abilities and this means that salaries need to increase. We would also need to ensure that the very same benefits that are being offered abroad should be offered to our professionals in the IT field, at home.

Prof Basie von Solms of the Centre for Cyber Security at the University of Johannesburg believes that the “brain drain would intensify and that even greater numbers of highly skilled ICT experts would leave South Africa”. He reasons that a full year of compulsory services should be imposed on IT graduates – similar to medical internships. In this way, graduates would benefit from their internships while also rendering a service to their country.

Do you work in the IT field? Do you have any tips and comments on how the industry can be made more attractive to those entering their studying careers? Let us know, we would love to hear from you, as would many of our clients.

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