Expatriation: a recruiter’s advice for finding a job


Deffa Ka, manager at the Fed Africa recruitment firm, met at the African Diaspora Forum, which took place on June 21 in Paris. She gives some advice and pitfalls to avoid for returnees.

A graduate of the University of Paris Nord and holder of a bachelor’s degree from the Institut Africain de Management (IAM) in Dakar, Deffa Ka began her career with the French consulting firm and rating agency SMBG, which specializes in higher education. After a little more than three years at the Parisian management school ESCP Europe, she joined Jeune Afrique Media Group as project manager for the events activity. She spent a year there before joining Fed Africa in 2016.

See also: Jobs in Africa

What difficulties do expatriate candidates face?

I often hear: “I apply for offers but I don’t get any feedback”. Submitting a CV or responding to an offer is now a common action. We need to be more proactive because the competition is tough on the continent. Members of the diaspora are not always aware of this. We must get rid of the cult of the superhero and come with more humility. Africa already has many resources at the local level. In Senegal, for example, more than 300,000 young people enter the job market each year. Most of the profiles have acquired experience in several African countries, in Ghana or in Ivory Coast. This mobility is highly valued. But candidates from the diaspora can also make their mark. They are highly prized for their knowledge of Western codes and their dual culture. There is a real emulation from recruiters around these profiles.

What do you recommend to optimize your search?

The important thing is to stand out. You have to coordinate several actions, first of all by finding out about the sector. Reading the press and doing regular monitoring can be useful to update your knowledge of your professional environment. I also encourage candidates to pick up the phone after responding to an offer, but also to apply spontaneously. This can make a difference. HR doesn’t get many calls, other than follow-up calls for applications. You should also not hesitate to cultivate your network by getting closer to your personal sphere. Calling on professionals such as recruitment firms can also help. Finally, it is important to visit the site to get to know the terrain. This also allows you to confront your project with reality.

What other factors should be considered?

Members of the diaspora must pay attention to the notion of salary. Unlike in France, employers negotiate on net, not in gross. It is not always relevant to convert your salary. In Africa, many companies also offer certain advantages in addition to the salary. For example, they may provide a company car, a housing allowance, repatriation insurance or bonuses (religious holidays, children’s back to school). Taxes are deducted at source. Expatriate contracts must also be put into perspective. For some years now, there has been a strategy of Africanization of positions from a legal point of view. That is to say, there are fewer and fewer, if any, French, Swiss or English contracts for positions based on the continent. Companies are increasingly offering local contracts and improved local contracts. There are still expatriate contracts that are found more particularly in specific or even technical functions such as in the mining or oil sectors.