Home to the world’s fastest growing economies, the construction industry in Africa is currently undergoing a boom. PwC is predicting that infrastructure spend in sub-saharan Africa will grow from $70 billion in 2013 to $180 billion in 2025. With several new highways, railways, airports, power projects, and residential / commercial / retail developments under construction or in the works across the continent, the question arises: how will companies find the necessary people to deliver these projects?
Local engineering, construction, and project management skill availability is not sufficient to meet the demand - particularly on the more complex mega projects. Unfortunately, finding qualified and experienced staff internationally to work on construction projects in Africa is often a challenge for construction contractors and consulting firms operating in the region. This is partly due to the high costs associated with sourcing and securing qualified professionals internationally to work on projects in ‘developing country’ environments often perceived to be complex and harsh. Also, those professionals that may be interested in working on construction projects in Africa may not even know that the projects and construction job opportunities exist. Identifying the right recruitment strategies for construction jobs in Africa is therefore essential in locating difficult-to-find people that are experienced with the African working environment and/or interested in working in Africa.
Typical recruitment channels used to source talent include recruitment agencies, job boards and media advertisements. However, these approaches can be inefficient as they often result in thousands of poor quality applications being received by the recruiting organization - which then has to sift through the applications manually to separate the wheat from the chaff and identify those that may be of value.
Some possible solutions
- Database: Set up a database or “talent pool” of past applicants that have been screened and identified as qualified and experienced / willing to work in in Africa. This “talent pool” can be an efficient and cost-effective way for construction firms, consultants etc. to source professional resources for their construction projects in Africa.
- Employee Referral Programmes: Getting existing employees (particularly those already working on Africa construction projects) to refer candidates, and paying referrers a specified referral bonus for any referred candidate that is eventually employed.
- Branding / Self-Recruiting: As part of your marketing strategy, get the word out that you’re a company that does construction projects in Africa and is recruiting for construction jobs in Africa. Also, provide facilities on your website for prospective candidates interested in working on your construction projects in Africa to submit their credentials for consideration.
- Local Industry-focused media and websites: Advertising in relevant industry-focused media (e.g. professional body websites such as the society of engineers or institute of quantity surveyors; online and print trade magazines etc.) in the African country where the construction project is located, will enable you to source qualified and experienced local talent, as well as expatriate staff already resident in the country and therefore are experienced with the African working environment and/or interested in working in Africa.
- Specialised Job Boards: Advertising on job boards specializing in the construction industry, or on job boards specializing in Africa would help in narrowing the search for personnel with the right qualifications and experience for Africa construction projects. However, an even more effective and cost-efficient strategy would be to source candidates through a recruitment channel focusing on ‘the construction sector in Africa’ - an example of this being ConstructAfricaJobs.com which specialises in just one industry segment and one geographical area – the construction industries in sub-saharan Africa. Every CV posted on the ConstructAfricaJobs.com website is about construction professionals willing and able to work in Africa.