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According to a recent study, 70% of African firms are recruiting to support their growth ambitions on the continent, but vacancies are taking longer to fill, and there is higher employee turnover.

This takeout from a keynote address by political economic analyst and futurist Daniel Silke, set the scene for the Careers in Africa Recruitment Summit that took place recently in Johannesburg. The summit was attended by 500 candidates and 12 leading employers of Africa’s talent, including Vodacom.

Vodacom’s Chief of HR Matimba Mbungela joined several business leaders in a panel discussion focused on aligning human resources strategy with business strategy.

Highlights from that panel include:


  • 'HR professionals should use their specialist skills to contribute to the business. Take their people skills, and apply it not just to employees, but to customers.' – Steve Bluen, Dean of Wits Business School
  • Metrics matter: 'How we measure the performance of HR is important.' – Pamela Chitenhe, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Ex DuPoint Pioneer
  • Happy employees equal happy customers. 'We have found a direct correlation between our EVP (employee value proposition) scores and customer satisfaction.' – James Shepherd, MD, Aggreko
  • 'The key to success for global organisations operating in Africa is to bring in the core culture, then localise it, so that at country level everyone is driving the communications themselves.' – Adam Molai, Chairman, Savanna Tobacco
  • 'In the future HR is going to become more systemised. Traditional HR activities will be automated, so HR can shift its emphasis to strategy.' – Graeme Taylor, Chief HR Officer, Puma Energy
  • 'We shouldn’t own the people strategy, the business does. It is our job to align them. HR needs to be a true business partner, and understand that you have a place at the table.' – Elizabeth Warren, HR Consultant


Speaking on the future of the human resources function in Africa, Mbungela underlined the need for HR to be agile, and operate within various levels of the organisation: 'You need to step out of your comfort zone. Engage within the business, find out what other departments are doing, and in that way you begin to shape the thinking around the table, and you will earn more respect.'

The challenge of managing virtual teams, as well as some of the key differences between the human resources function in Africa versus Europe were some of the questions raised by the audience.

The panel discussions were followed up by an awards ceremony. Vodafone was named runner-up in the Media and Communications category on the 2015 Careers in Africa Employer of Choice Awards, by over 13 200 Africans that took part in the survey.

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