Working abroad will always have its allure. A foreign land, earning in pounds or dollars and enjoying life in a developed country are some of the reasons why South Africans may be considering leaving South Africa to work abroad. But be careful about the promises of overseas jobs. It is not always what its cracked up to be, especially since 2008. The reality is that the world is in a recession, not just the United States and a few European countries. High paying jobs are few and far between these days and all too often South Africans find themselves in a foreign land suffering to make a living. However, this is not to say that it does not have its distinct advantages and benefits.
The Grass Is Not Always Greener
If you are moving solely to make more money abroad, then be realistic before you give up your job here in South Africa. The exchange rate may make the salary abroad seem great but factor in the cost of living in another country. Pound for pound, or dollar for dollar, the salary that seems attractive in South African rand terms may not be so in the country where you work. Also consider job security. As a migrant worker you may not enjoy the same labour rights as the locals.
With protectionist measures being implemented in many countries, locals get the first preference. And then there is no shortage of skilled labour pouring out from Asia, many of whom are prepared to work for much less than the locals or even other migrants workers. You opportunities may be much better if you have a degree in a field that is sought after with relevant work experience. It may also be a better option if you have a work visa, residency or citizenship that allows you the flexibility to move between jobs while abroad.
If you are young and just going abroad for the life experience, then it is not as risky to take the plunge. But if you are giving up a good job here in South Africa and moving your entire family then consider your decision very carefully. The grass may not be greener on the other side – at least not in terms of career opportunities. South Africans have been streaming back home since the global economic meltdown wreaked havoc in 2008. And the global economy has never really recovered since then.
South Africa has many problems and crime is among the main issue why South Africans choose to leave the country. Then there may be the issues with job availability, labour policies that impedes your career growth and in recent times there is the question about political uncertainty. Many countries in the world will have much more to offer in this regard and may be reason enough to leave, beyond just the job aspect.
Once again carefully consider your decision to leave if politics, safety and other factors are the main reasons for wanting to go abroad. Leaving your home country is not a simple decision that should be taken lightly. It is especially difficult if your friends and family are still here in South Africa, if you are giving up your job and assets to move abroad and if you do not have at least some support structure in a new land. It can still be a better decision for you. You may still have a better life abroad. And there is still money to be made outside South Africa, in certain professions. But consider all aspects before you quit your job and hop on board that plane.