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Nurturing Talent Is Hard in Africa

Local business leaders are scarce amid lack of top schools, lower pay than in other regions


The Wall Street Journal | December 8, 2015


The Wall Street Journal article, "Nurturing Talent Is Hard in Africa," features Russell Reynolds Associates' research, "Attracting and Retaining Executive Talent in Africa" The article also quotes the paper's author, Simon Kingston, about the difficulty in finding, training and retaining executive talent in Africa. The article is excerpted below.

Africa is hailed as a major growth market for global businesses, but as global companies expand there, they are having a tough time finding leaders to run their operations.

That is the conclusion of a new report on executive talent by Russell Reynolds Associates, which surveyed 230 senior leaders and recruiters in Africa. Recruiters say companies are eager to recruit good hires in the region, but find that candidates with traditional management skills—such as the ability to drive change or build teams—are in short supply.

The report focused on the talent markets of Kenya and Nigeria, whose economies are growing rapidly, and South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, yet the issues are common to many nations in sub-Saharan Africa, the authors note.

The issues will become more acute as more businesses expand in Africa, where gross-domestic-product growth is projected to strengthen to 4.5% this year and 5% next year, according to the African Economic Outlook 2015 report.

Driving the talent shortage is the African continent’s dearth of high-quality business schools, according to Simon Kingston, who leads the global development practice at Russell Reynolds.

In countries such as Kenya and Nigeria, many with management aspirations tend to leave for school or work abroad, and persuading them to return home for their career is a challenge, recruiters said.

To read the full article, click here.

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Nurturing Talent Is Hard in Africa