Human resources: numerous job opportunities on the African continent

Posted by Fed Africa in Career advice
Posted at 26/06/2023
Human resources: numerous job opportunities on the African continent
In the future, recruiting and attracting young African talent will be a real challenge for local and international companies alike. The region will have a larger and younger workforce, so it will be important to attract and recruit this young talent in a targeted way.Human resources professions will be in high demand, and here's a look at four professions in this sector that is set to take off on the continent.

Growth trends on the African continent are more promising than ever: according to the latest semi-annual report from the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa’s economic growth is set to exceed global forecasts, reaching around 4% in 2023 and 2024.

At the same time, the continent’s human capital is also evolving rapidly. The region will have a larger and younger workforce than either China or India by 2050, and the latter is increasingly well educated: according to a UNICEF report, the proportion of out-of-school children was halved between 2000 and 2019, and the average number of years of education for Africans increased by more than 2 years in the space of a generation.

For local and international companies alike, attracting and retaining the right talent is essential to capitalize on the continent’s economic boom. In this context, the role played by the human resources professions is more essential than ever. In Africa, they face a dual challenge: helping multinationals to understand local practices and take account of cultural nuances in order to hire in a targeted way, and helping African companies to adapt to the rapidly evolving needs of their employees. Here is a look at four professions in this sector, which is set to take off on the continent. 

Human Resources Director

The Human Resources Director (HRD), responsible for defining and building the company’s strategic HR tools, plays a key role in ensuring that human capital is equipped with necessary skills, and that its strength is channeled in the right direction.

Like the rest of the world, Africa-based employees crave perspective, learning and experimentation. For example, in 2018, 39% of South African employees said they were considering leaving their jobs due to a perceived lack of career opportunities.

By anticipating and accompanying the evolution of  employees’ skills, the HRD enables them to achieve their performance objectives while ensuring their well-being. Finally, the HRD ensures that companies implement practices in line with international standards, so that the company is in step with the times. 


Africa’s robust economy is attracting a growing number of companies, who often have difficulty finding candidates for certain high-level profiles. Finding these specialized profiles on behalf of a company is the mission of the headhunter.

Gone are the days when international companies parachuted entire management teams of expatriates into sub-Saharan Africa, and any modern company investing in Africa cannot afford to do without local skills and knowledge.

The role of the headhunter is therefore fully relevant in the art of detecting and hiring these profiles locally.

Expatriation manager 

Despite the increase in the number of highly qualified profiles in Africa, there is still a skill shortage in certain areas, with a consequent need for international expertise. Increasingly, the modern management team in Africa is made up of a mix of expatriates and locals.

At the same time, since the COVID-19 crisis, three out of ten African companies have extended their recruitment criteria to candidates who do not live close to their place of work, prompting many African companies or the african offices of multinationals to hire their senior executives remotely.

In response to these new challenges, the expatriation manager’s mission is to manage the departure and return of employees who have left to work for a group entity abroad, or to assist with the arrival of employees hired internationally.

Not only do they manage their administrative follow-up, but they also take care of their installation in the host country. 

Payroll manager

There are two distinct pay structures in Africa, varying from country to country and sub-region to sub-region. In French-speaking countries, the salary structure is similar to that of France or Belgium, with a basic salary, bonuses and certain benefits in kind.

English-speaking countries, on the other hand, sometimes distinguish between "salary" (a fixed amount per pay period) and "wages" (payment by the hour). Their benefit schemes are also different, as employees are able to negotiate their own vacation days or healthcare reimbursements.

In addition, many multinationals such as British American Tobacco, Nestlé, Unilever and Shell are present on the continent, each with their own habits regarding the composition of their staff's remuneration. It is therefore important to call on the services of specialists to help you navigate this complexity.

The payroll manager is a specialist in labor and social law, responsible for ensuring that payroll operations run smoothly and that any errors are corrected. These experts play an indispensable role in determining compensation practices that take into account national legislation and market practices.