Finance Jobs: Overview of Africa’s Attractiveness


Attracted by the very high salaries offered in Europe or North America, African finance talents are leaving the continent, pushing local recruiters to innovate to attract and meet the growing needs of the sector.

Regional integration, mobile banking, fintech, Islamic finance, the rise of private investment… The levers that are stimulating the finance sector on the continent are numerous and some countries are benefiting more than others.

“South Africa, Mauritius, Morocco or Tunisia, Cape Verde and Namibia have reached upper-middle income country financial capabilities” notes a European Investment Bank (EIB) report published in October 2018. Others, such as Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire are getting closer and offering more finance jobs in Africa.

Logically, this dynamism is reflected in recruitment: “Finance has been taking up more and more space for about five years. The trend is linked to the reorganizations of large local private banks and the regulatory standards imposed by institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank or simply the United States,” analyzes Youssef Souli, founder of the recruitment firm Workosolutions.

A variety of jobs and employers

Nic Sephton-Poultney, Managing Director of Robert Walters in South Africa, says that 60% of the assignments given to his teams come from the financial sector or concern finance positions. Among his clients, large foreign companies such as Coca-Cola, Siemens and Heineken are looking for executives, middle managers and senior managers mainly in West Africa.

The most sought-after functions in the sector are diverse: compliance and risk managers, anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing experts, asset-liability management, project management officers, IT experts and actuaries.

The companies that recruit also evolve in various fields, from retail to construction, including agribusiness, high technology and the automotive industry.

Attracting people not only by salary

Although the sector is recruiting, it is nevertheless struggling to attract the right profiles. The latter are attracted by the competition abroad, which often has more attractive salaries to offer candidates. “Our real difficulties lie in our ability to attract the right profiles,” confirms the head of Robert Walters. Convinced that they want to return to the continent, some members of the diaspora are disappointed when they discover the salaries offered.

The only solution for employers is to play on the package by offering original benefits. “Companies offer adjustments to working hours. Sometimes we can also offer funding for children’s studies or more traditional bonuses,” Nic Sephton-Poultney explains.

“Local operational profiles do not exist,” says Youssef Souli. If he can’t find the rare pearl in Canada, the United States or Europe, he opts for less experienced local middle managers, even if it means that the companies will train them afterwards. “This is the best strategy because it avoids recruiting young profiles that are potentially better paid than their elders and therefore preserves the internal social balance,” concludes the Tunisian recruiter.