Who says there are no jobs in South Africa?

Who says there are no jobs in South Africa?

BPeSA has a good news story to tell when it comes to the viral topic of unemployment and economic growth in South Africa: there are plenty of jobs possible in the Global Business Services (GBS) sector.

But what is the GBS sector? And who is BPeSA?

Global Business Services

Global Business Services has also been called Business Process Services and Business Process Outsourcing, but the nature of work in the sector has grown outside of those labels and is now best described as global business services.

It is a rapidly growing international sector that offers its customers a range of business services including contact centre services, finance and accounting services, legal services, information technology services, education services, HR services and knowledge services. Almost anything a modern business does can be delivered as a service and need not be located in the same building as the primary business. This allows GBS operators to base themselves in international countries while still offering a local service to any of their clients.

  • GBS is a people intensive sector that is enabled and impacted by technology, that means it embodies the roller-coaster excitement of digital disruption and innovation we have come to expect from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  
  • GBS enjoys higher growth than many other sectors of the South Africa economy and is consequently able to have a major impact on youth unemployment. The roles are skilled roles but do not in general require any tertiary qualification. The skills that young people build by working in the sector are easily transferable to other sectors and also lay a foundation for career growth and development into specialist and leadership roles essential for our economy.
  • South Africa employs 190,000 people (85% of which are youth under the age of 35) in its domestic GBS market (offering business services to other South African companies) and 50,000 people in its international GBS market, offering those services to international organisations, 63% of which are female


The really exciting news about GBS and job creation is that the South African international operators who employ 50,000 people, experienced growth of 21% – 23% between 2014 and 2018, and a bumper 28% in 2018. In a country where the overall economic growth rate is around 1%, this represents an amazing opportunity for youth employment.

South Africa appears to be fortunate in this sector as we are growing 300% faster in this space than our competitors in India and the Philippines, a fact suggested by research that has shown South Africa is the top potential investment destination in the world for Global Business Services.

This high growth potential has led BPeSA to forecast that the GBS sector could add 50,000 direct jobs to South Africans in the next 5 years, and 150,000 indirect jobs… back to BPeSA….



BPeSA CEO, Andy Searle, addresses the 2018 Global Sourcing Summit Attendees

BPESA is a not-for-profit company, that serves as the industry body and trade association for Global Business Services in South Africa serving the international and domestic markets here. Its purpose is to market South Africa to the world as an attractive place to offshore their business processes, thereby stimulating local job creation, particularly for unemployed youth.

Wherever BPeSA goes they have a strong and clear message on skills development  and youth employment. This is not only because they care about South Africa, but also because GBS growth will require a coordinated effort of industry role players to provide a sustainable supply of suitably skilled people to enable the sector to improve its existing competitiveness position and to grow substantially.

In other words we can’t reach the amazing growth potential for GBS in South Africa unless we can improve and expand the quality of skills in our youth talent pool.

Enter WorkFit

Chris Vorwerk and Mike Stuart from the WorkFit team first met the BPeSA team at the Rockefeller Foundation Impact Sourcing Conference in South Africa in 2014.

Impact Sourcing is a business hiring strategy designed to reach out to high potential youth in very disadvantaged communities, and take them through a structured development process which results in much more engaged and better performing employees than is possible through other traditional hiring practices.

Chris and Mike were impressed back then with the carefully researched and holistically planned, systemic approach by BPeSA to growing the economy while at the same time opening up new opportunities for youth to enter the workforce.

With the launch of WorkFit in November 2017, there has been extensive sharing and inputs between both BPeSA and WorkFit about how to bring the public TVET colleges closer to the youth employment opportunities of the GBS sector. This has included participating in BPeSA regional skills forums, inputs to the BPeSA 2019 Skills Strategy and networking and introductions of key role-players in both directions. There are also new partnership plans on the table which are too early to talk about yet, but if you look at our Partners page you will get a sense of the magical ingredients involved.

Visit BPeSA’s website to learn more about how to Invest in South Africa

Parts of this document were drawn from the BPeSA Sector Skills Strategy document


Mike Stuart

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