More professionals entering South Africa, than leaving


1 September 2015

South Africa comes in at a respectable sixth place, after Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Germany, in a LinkedIn survey of the top 20 profession migration countries. The number one country is United Arab Emirates.

Based on a LinkedIn database of over 300 million professionals, the top 20 profession migration countries are measured by the most migration activity (an absolute number of members moving in and out of a country) and net migration (the number of members arriving to a country minus the number of member departing a country).

The professionals entering South Africa are not necessarily skilled South Africans who are returning to the country; rather, the survey measures any professionals seeking job opportunities in South Africa.

It found 0.26% more professionals arrived than left between January and December 2014, 0.5% up from the previous survey of the period from November 2012 to November 2013. More people left than arrived in certain countries, including the US, the UK, China, according to the research.

Much-needed science, technology, engineering and maths, or Stem, skills make up nearly half the list of career traits in people migrating internationally, while other notable skillsets considered most valuable include foreign language translation, business consulting and life sciences.

The results represent the world seen through the lens of LinkedIn data and is influenced by how members choose to use the site. This can vary based on professional, social and regional culture, and overall site availability and accessibility. These variances were not accounted for in the analysis.

Nationality and visa status are not fields included in LinkedIn profiles, so no inferences on the citizenship of members included in research could be made. But the research does determine geographic movements of members during 2014. Analysing new positions added to profiles, which include location, filters out domestic movement. The analysis includes members who had used the site regularly for more than a year, and excluded members who signed up during the research period.

LinkedIn is one of the oldest digital social platforms in the world, launched in 2003, and has adapted well to competition from larger social networks and technology changes. According to digital marketing expert Craig Smith from the DMR website, the network is still one of the primary business and professional networking platforms, offering unique services and applications to the site’s users.

As of July 2015, according to research gathered by DMR, the network has 380 million users, with 97 million unique visits to profiles. There are 3.8 million LinkedIn users in the country, according to the SA Social Media Landscape 2015 study, released by research firms World Wide Worx and Fuseware in September 2014. According to that research, this was a 40% increase compared to the previous year.

At any one time, LinkedIn advertises 3 million positions worldwide, with most in the professional category. Some 94% of recruiters use the site to vet and confirm job applicants, as well as to find new professional talent. With reach in over 200 countries and territories, 70% of unique users are from outside the US.

SAinfo reporter