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Meeting the needs of expatriates in sub-Saharan Africa

23 November 2017

Globally mobile individuals, sometimes referred to “expatriates” or “expats”, came under the spotlight in the 2017 Cigna 360° Wellbeing Survey.  The Survey looked at the health, wellbeing, and sense of security among 2,000 globally mobile individuals living in 20 countries across five continents.

For organisations employing expats anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa, an extrapolation of these results may provide a roadmap for increasing the retention of this increasingly important employee segment.

Why Do expats accept an assignment in south africa?

These reasons are likely to be similar for expats operating throughout Africa given the continent’s rapidly evolving markets and abundant natural beauty.

was the change worth it?

Given the variety of working conditions, state of infrastructure and access to resources in the rest of Africa, employers are likely to face far stiffer challenges to satisfy expats operating in other African jurisdictions.

health care concerns

Expats around the world, including those working in South Africa, share a high level of concern about the quality of medical care available in the countries in which they operate. They generally have a lower perception of the state of their personal health and wellness than the overall working population and they are concerned about the financial consequences of falling ill.

The result is that more than half of globally mobile individuals consider insurance coverage a very important factor when considering a move overseas. With the significant health care infrastructure and delivery challenges faced in the rest of Africa, it would be understandable if this concern was acute for expats deployed in such countries.

Duty of Care

These findings come as no surprise at a time where there is increasing pressure on corporations and NGOs around the world to meet “duty of care” standards when it comes to employees. Duty of care makes employers responsible to take all steps reasonably possible to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of their employees and their families, wherever they may be in the world.

More than a quarter (27%) of global expats, and 38% of expats in South Africa, feel subject to an insufficient duty of care. This percentage is expected to be higher for other African countries, where access to medical care is much more limited.

Health and Wellbeing are a priority

The message is clear among globally mobile individuals - health and wellbeing are as much a priority as job opportunities and salary.

Hollard Cigna Health represents a belief that the message will be similar, if not stronger and louder within the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Their product suite offers a fully compliant health insurance solution for the region. It provides local management, regional expatriates and globally mobile staff easy access to the finest quality health care available in modern Africa and beyond.

For organisations that understand that expat talent deployed into the burgeoning markets of Africa is more than a commodity, engaging the hopes and fears of this globally mobile employee segment is important. Far more important, however, is providing solutions to the dilemmas faced by those building careers on this vast continent. Having a great health plan represents a fine start.

> Read the full survey report