Africa PR & Communications Report Unveils Continental Threat Of Brain Drain

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The first  Africa PR & Communications Report has identified brain drain as a critical challenge threatening the advancement of PR and communications practice in Africa.

In the report, concerns over the emigration of African PR practitioners dominated issues relating to talent recruitment, development, and retention in the continent.

The report was released two days ago. It was developed by the Research Intelligence arm of BHM, a Lagos-based agency, in partnership with industry bodies. Findings were based on focus group discussions, interviews, surveys, and essay contributions from over 500 industry practitioners in 29 different countries across North, Southern, East, Central, and West Africa.

Nearly all PR practitioners (90%) believe that more professionals are willing to leave the African country in which they operate while 80% are convinced that even entry-level staff are already considering their exit from their countries. A lack of access to tools and resources, training and development, and poor compensation are cited as critical factors driving the exodus of professionals and young talent in the industry.

BHM founder and Africa PR & Communications Report committee chair Ayeni Adekunle said a report on the challenges facing the industry on the continent was “long overdue” and added: “It is not particularly strange that more young African talents are seeking relocation to countries with advanced economies, but it is a wake-up call for the PR industry to reflect on how it provides talents with the necessary tools and environment to thrive.”

Committee advisor and BHM director Stephen Waddington, the MD of consultancy Wadds Inc, said: “Respondents have pointed us in the directions we must take to fill the skills gap regarding capacity building, training and welfare support. Unsurprisingly, practitioners highlighted the opportunity to increase their salary by at least half by moving to a similar position in any country of their choice.”

The report finds that optimism around the training and recruitment of practitioners is frail, with 70% of respondents strongly disagreeing that there is an improved industry commitment to investing in resources necessary to upskill and hire new talents. A further 75% are convinced that the PR and communications industry is suffering from the drastic plunge in talent availability.

A dearth in the availability of qualified and experienced talents is widely believed by 81% of respondents to be responsible for excessive workload or job demands for practitioners who remain with PR agencies in Africa, leaving them exposed to physical and mental exhaustion, decreased productivity, and increased stress and anxiety.

Inadequate earnings perhaps represent the most appealing factor for PR practitioners seeking relocation out of the continent. In countries such as Nigeria and Ghana 17% of industry professionals earn less than $200 USD per month while a third (32%) earn between $200 and $1,000 monthly, especially in Rwanda and Kenya. In Botswana, DR Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, 24% earned above $1,000 but below $10,000 as monthly income.

Overall, 73% of industry professionals in the survey earn less than $10,000 per month, with only 8.5% per cent of practitioners earning a monthly income of more than $10,000.

However, industry professionals in Africa are confident there could be a turnaround in achieving favourable salary benchmarks within the industry, as they believe more quality work and private investment will precipitate significant change.

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