Salaries shoot up as firms seek global experience

The right talent is not about numbers, but skilled individuals who can develop and execute strategies. Photo/FILE
The right talent is not about numbers, but skilled individuals who can develop and execute strategies. Photo/FILE 

Kenyan employers are being forced to pay hefty salaries and offer lucrative perks to hire professionals with global experience, human resources experts say.

Firms in sectors such as financial services and telecoms are increasingly turning an eye to the global job market to tap crucial talent, key in staying ahead of the competition in a growing economy.

This appetite for people with a global touch has opened a fresh opportunity for professionals who have recently returned from abroad as well as those working and living in the Diaspora.

Global Career Company, a London-based international recruitment consultancy, says there has been a rapid jump in the number of companies seeking to conduct global recruitment campaigns.

“Companies are seeking to bolster their workforces with experienced professionals possessing global experience. This in turn helps firms them their reliance on expatriate expertise,” said Rupert Adcock, the managing director at Global Career Company.


Most companies posted sluggish growth in 2008 and 2009 due to the recession.

But with the economy expected to rebound this year, most companies are taking positions in preparation for growth that will help them calm shareholder impatience for results.

The 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers Human Resource Survey indicates that Kenyan firms absorbed at least 2 per cent of the total 4,784 applications received from the returnees, with HR experts saying employers are increasingly tapping into this pool.

In this tough economic environment, employers are betting on talent to ride them out of the downturn, forcing them to be constantly on the lookout for innovators and people with a rich global experience.

“The right talent is not about numbers, but skilled individuals who can develop and execute strategies,” Mr Adan Mohamed, the Barclays Bank chief executive recently told Business Daily.

“At the end of the day, we bet more on people than strategies, but the pool of talent is being stretched.”

This type of thinking is making human capital the most sought after resource in the production system and an arsenal for companies that seek to grow.

Apart from people with globally astute, professionals who are technologically literate and those capable of not only developing but also executing strategy are also in high demand.

As a result, firms have been forced to pay high wages to guard against poaching from rival firms.

This comes as Global Career Company prepares to hold its annual Africa Career Summit, this week in London, an avenue normally used by multi-national firms to tap key talent.

The Summit assembles Africans in the Diaspora, linking them up with the Continent’s blue chip companies.

Since inception of the Summit six years ago, the recruitment firm has placed at least 4,500 African hitherto in the Diaspora into leading blue chip companies.

“This year’s Summit has already seen a marked increase in the number of companies looking to recruit into Africa and the number of executives applying for African-based roles, ” said Mr Adcock.

Largest corporations

This years’ event begins on Friday and will be attended by at least 40 of the world’s largest corporations as well as Kenyan firms.

In Kenya, competition for talent has resulted in high staff turnover with the best paying companies benefiting the most in hiring and retaining the best talent in the market, in turn raising labour costs.

According to the Economic survey 2010 the annual wage bill of the private sector has more than doubled to Sh517.7 billion in 2009 from Sh262 billion in 2003.

In contrast staff numbers have increased by only 20 per cent signalling that the wage bill has been driven by pay increases, notably of mid and top tier employees.