The spirit of South Africa calls foreign workers

Workers from multi-national corporations are flocking to Cape Town instead of London and New York. BizNews gets an update on the latest trends from Paul Keursten, the CEO and co-founder of Workshop17. – Chris Steyn

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Excerpts from the interview

The deciding factors in choosing a place to operate from

“So, in the semi-immigration in South Africa, we see it, but also internationally, we see that people are moving and companies are choosing a location to base themselves where they can attract talent because talent is scarce around the world. And in Europe, we see that in some places, like the Netherlands, where I’m originally from, there is more vacancies than there is job seekers. 

“So we see companies from England, from Europe mainland coming to Cape Town and also hiring local people on IT related jobs or any kind of job, financial marketing and seeing outsourcing to South Africa as an opportunity to attract talent that they bring from other countries, but even so importantly, attract talent locally in South Africa, which creates jobs in South Africa, which is a wonderful thing because we need it.”

The lure of the lower cost of living in South Africa

“If you pay people a decent salary, they can have a different quality of life in South Africa than they would have in Europe. 

“But also in terms of attracting talent and what you need to pay for talent and your cost of operation as a company goes down. So you can have a great office with Workshop17 or elsewhere and you can afford your staff a good quality of life without losing your profitability.

Why Cape Town tops London and New York

“Cape Town has become also a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“There is an entrepreneurial spirit in South Africa. So if you look beyond the political, the entrepreneurial world, because things are not so easy, the entrepreneurs stand up. Innovation grows because we need new solutions in the situation that we’re living. And that kind of energy is also what people like.

“…Like the connection that you have with people and the spirit, the enthusiasm that people create an opportunity out of a problem. And I think that is really some of the big attractions.

“South Africa has still a lot to offer. I know in South Africa, the narrative is quite problematic and we tend to complain a lot, but there’s also a lot of beauty still. There’s a good quality of life. There’s wonderful people and there’s people with skills that can contribute to a company that comes to South Africa.

“If you tie everything together…the quality of life, the quality of the people, the energy of the place, the entrepreneurship attitude and the fact that no one can be complacent. If everything is nicely organised and everything is comfortable, innovation doesn’t really happen. So that element, with still having a great infrastructure that South Africa offers, compared to other countries.

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