'BEE has closed many avenues for skilled people'

Looking around your workplace or social circle, are you seeing the same faces from five, or 10 years ago?

Among your friends and colleagues how many have packed up and left South Africa for 'better' opportunities overseas?

Figures show that for every one professional coming to South Africa, eight highly skilled workers are leaving.

This is not a new phenomenon. It's something that has happened over many decades, it happened over the apartheid years - many professionals left for Canada and the UK and the United States.

Johannes Wessels, Director - Enterprise Observatory of South Africa (EOSA)

The problem, says Wessels, is that the country and the economy needs highly skilled professionals to help grow the economy.

We are growing too slow for our economy to advance at the required rate.

Johannes Wessels, Director - Enterprise Observatory of South Africa (EOSA)

READ: Easy alternative to physically emigrating is investing overseas, says economist

So what are some of the factors leading to the skills exodus?

Wessels says black economic empowerment is one of them.

BEE is a driver of some skills out of South Africa. I think, to turn the tide, BEE needs to be reconsidered or at least be made growth compatible. BEE is not the ONLY reason, but it's an important reason.

Johannes Wessels, Director - Enterprise Observatory of South Africa (EOSA)

But, adds Wessels, it's not only white South Africans who're leaving the country, a 2017 government white paper shows black nationals are also looking for opportunities further afield.

In the last few years the number of black professionals emigrating is, in fact, higher than the number of white high skilled South Africans emigrating.

Johannes Wessels, Director - Enterprise Observatory of South Africa (EOSA)

Listen to the full interview below:


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