South Africa Offers Expats Adventure & Lifestyle – According To Well-Being Survey
Globally mobile individuals, also known as expatriates (expats), who choose to live and work in South Africa, cite the adventure (74%), a better quality of life (72%), or to gain international experience (67%) as their reasons for accepting assignments in the country. This is according to the 2017 Cigna 360° Well-being Survey, which looks at the health, well-being, and sense of security among 2 000 expats living in 20 markets across five continents.
Perceptions of physical, financial, social, family and work health among expats were also examined and compared with all working people in the 2017 survey. “Our 360° Well-being Survey captures the sentiments of an expat environment that is rapidly evolving. Overseas assignments are becoming shorter — a decade ago, going overseas typically meant a three or four-year relocation, but assignments today can be for less than 12 months,” explains Gilles Nyssens, business development director: Africa at Cigna.
“Some expats do not relocate at all–instead working on project-based assignments and even commuting via extended business trips has become common, allowing organisations to access global talent when relocation is not possible.”
South Africa-based expats mostly feel that the change has been worth it, with 68% reported being satisfied or completely satisfied with their move, and 67% satisfied or completely satisfied with their career prospects. Given the variety of working conditions, state of infrastructure and access to resources in the rest of Africa, employers are likely to face tough challenges to satisfy expats operating in other African jurisdictions.
The survey also revealed that while 89% of South African-based expats have excellent or very good relationships with co-workers, 77% experience the same with supervisors. While these percentages are higher in South Africa than in other countries, this will probably be the case throughout Africa, considering the warmth, engagement and hospitality of most of Africa’s peoples.
However, only 37% of expats in South Africa are satisfied with the country’s economic outlook, compared to the 63% worldwide, and they too are concerned about the country’s economic woes. This leads to higher levels of insecurity, concerns about financial health and lower perceptions about their ability to take care of their family’s health and well-being. While the economic outlook varies from country to country in Africa, levels of insecurity and concerns about financial health may well be at similar levels for expats across the continent. This could be one of the most significant human capital challenges for organisations that depend on expat talent and that believe in nurturing this talent.