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The War for Talent and its Impact on the Public Narrative on Migration

Aug 10, 2021

The International Organization for Employers (IOE) invited Mrs. Jacqueline Mugo, the Secretary General BUSINESSAfrica Employers Confederation, Mrs. Annemarie Muntz, Global Public Affairs at Randstad, and Mr. Alvise Giustiniani, Illicit Trade Prevention at Philip Morris International to present to members the image local people have about migrant workers, the challenges they face when it comes to recruiting skilled workers across the border, and the importance of immigration for the growth of the economy.
Mrs. Mugo explained that the perception of migrants by the local population in Kenya is mixed. Many negative stories are told and welcoming refugees due to wars in neighboring countries sometimes brought some security issues or misunderstandings. On top of this, job seekers might have the perception that migrant workers take jobs away from them.
When it comes to recruiting skills lacking or missing in the country, it can be a challenge for the enterprises due to a weak regulatory and legal framework in Kenya. Mrs. Mugo called for a “vision to operate as one market in East Africa.” In conclusion, migrants are important to fill positions where there is skill shortage or absence of skills in some new business areas. It is then relevant to hire skilled migrant workers to fill the gaps and to transfer their knowledge to local workers.
Mrs. Mugo called for a “vision to operate as one market in East Africa.” 
Mrs. Muntz highlighted the importance of giving a stable and legal status to migrant workers because in time of crisis like the current pandemic, many essential workers (e.g. healthcare workers) were in a precarious situation and have not been taken into consideration by governments. Around the world, there is a problem on informality for migrant workers. 
The war for talent is not something new, according to Mr. Giustiniani, and the key for the employers is to stay attractive.

In the second part of the conference, Mr. Singh, former FICCI Secretary General, emphasized that migrant workers were not only beneficial for the economy of the country they migrated to but also for the country they come from as many return with new skills.

One of the tools needed to better understand migration and to better organize it, is to have relevant data. Employers have been invited to support this by providing data on where skilled workers are needed.


Author :Wendy Graedler