Global talent war: SA workers are the real winners

The war for talent among global companies in South Africa means skilled workers no longer need to move abroad for better career prospects.

A webinar poll conducted by the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa found that 80% of participants are looking for opportunities to work for international companies that are based locally.

Of these, 47% said their main reason for working remotely for international firms would be to gain international experience, while 10% were motivated by networking with international tech leaders.

“The South African job market is increasingly candidate-driven. This means that international companies with a local base of operations are enriching their value propositions around what potential employees are looking to gain through employment. This includes skills development, work-life balance, a positive culture, and pathways for career growth,” says Mike Bignold, co-founder and CEO of Canadian tech start-up CostCertified, who opened their global headquarters in Cape Town in June this year.

With an increasing number of international firms setting up their headquarters locally, opportunities to gain international work experience are easier to access than ever before; “During our recruitment process, we found that people were most excited about being trained in skills that are in-demand and trending worldwide. In the long-term, this provides a notable resume boost which can accelerate their careers both within their current role and beyond,” says Bignold.

Another point of interest for locals included working hours, which run from 3pm to 11pm South African time, in order to align with operating hours at CostCertified’s home base in Canada; “Lots of our South African employees loved this idea, because it gives them the opportunity to make the most of their daytime and achieve a better work-life balance. This is particularly important for the younger generation of workers and recent graduates, who place more emphasis on their mental health,” says Bignold.

Some of the world’s biggest companies, including Amazon and Microsoft, have recently invested in new facilities in South Africa.

In July, German car manufacturer BMW launched a hiring drive for skilled technical locals to join their new IT Hub in Pretoria, with the aim of providing 2 000 jobs by 2023.

“For companies, setting up shop in South Africa offers a ton of benefits from a cost perspective, local work ethic, and time zones. For ambitious job hunters, this means a range of possibilities in terms of career acceleration and capitalising on these companies’ efforts to attract talent,” says Bignold.

Launched in 2021 and backed by Y-Combinator, the world’s biggest tech incubator programme, CostCertified is poised to become one of the fastest-growing companies in Canada. During the seed round of funding, the company raised $8.45-million (R133-million) to help them realise their vision. Joining over 550 firms in Africa’s Silicon Valley. The company aims to provide at least 300 jobs for locals over the next two years.

Those interested in applying for positions at CostCertified can visit their careers page at

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