The World Bank Group, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Microsoft are the top five best companies to work for in Africa in 2018. This is according to an analysis dubbed the Employer of Choice Survey released in June this year.
Anglo American, GE, Shell, Bridge International Academies and Nestle round up the remaining top 10 respectively.
Interestingly enough, Anglo American, which is now ranked 6th, shot up 25 places from last year, when it was ranked at number 31.
The Africa Employer of Choice Study recognizes those employers who have caught the attention of the African talent pool.
“With the study, we are trying to shape the conversation on what makes a great employer in Africa, and through that positively change the employee experience across the continent,” the survey’s compilers said in their report.
The ranking is produced by combining the popularity of the brands (how often they are selected for review) with their ratings by survey respondents against a range of criteria. Those factors are combined into a scoring index which is shown against the brands.
The first year of the Careers in Africa Employer of Choice Study saw domination by consumer goods and professional service brands. At the time, energy firms were popular, and banks struggled to make a mark.
While the oil and gas majors hang on to top positions in spite of reduced recruiting activity, the ripple effect of a 2014-2015 slow-down into other sectors prompted reduced recruitment and increased restructuring for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands. According to the survey, this led to a slide down the rankings for some.
“Elsewhere, the increased demand for digital talent and the creation of digital functions within a variety of organisations is changing the talent landscape in banks and telecoms companies, evolving the perception of them as employers and the type of talent they are aiming to access,” the researchers explained.
“It may be this which has inspired the significant gains for the likes of MTN and Standard Chartered Bank. Bearing out predictions from the last couple of editions of this ranking, we see the first significant impact from the agribusiness sector, with both Syngenta and Monsanto grabbing top 30 results,” they added, referring to companies in the agriculture sector.
On the other hand, the professional services sector has seen a mixed performance. Most of the big names suffered significant drops, hit by greater competition for their target talent on top of (in some cases) reputational fallout.
This competition is being driven by the digital diversification of leading brands in other sectors, together with disruptive entrants such as Google, Facebook, Andela and Jumia, all of whom the researchers believe will likely secure strong results next year.
In a surprising development, given their commercial challenges, Africa’s national carriers have returned to the top 100, with South African Airways (SAA), Kenya Airways (KQ) and Ethiopian Airlines securing positions. KQ was ranked number 47, and Ethiopian Airlines was ranked number 61, while SSA was ranked number 64.
The famous Nigeria-born Dangote Group was down 3 positions from 2017 and ranked at number 59 this year. East Africa Breweries, a leading beer-make for the region dropped 79 positions from rank 16 last year to rank 95 in 2018.
From the report, it emerged that the chance to learn new skills was a top attraction for employees in Africa.
The survey also explained how Africa’s job market changing in terms of skills employers are looking for.
“If you go back five years, the big volume recruiters were definitely the oil and energy sector,” explained Alex Mugan, Managing Director of the Global Career Company and one of the people who has been overseeing the Careers in Africa Employer of Choice survey and ranking for the last four years.
“In terms of demand, today we are seeing a lot of interest around recruitment for investment finance people on the deal side but also people on the project side,” Mugan added.
“The other one, and I think it’s an obvious one, is digital skills. Brands, across sectors, are working to digitise their businesses. It could be banks, it could be telcos, it could be fast-moving consumer goods, looking to bring in people who’ve got not just digital savvy and can do their jobs but who are also able to move the organisation forward to either digital products or digitising the way that core products are delivered,” he said.