Q5: Got talent? The world wants it, says Emily Keyes [interview]
by Carey Finn (@carey_finn) Emily Keyes, the founder and CEO of international recruitment agency The Talent Boom, believes South Africans have a lot to offer the world. Once an expat herself, the Cape Town-based entrepreneur launched the agency in 2013 to connect local creatives with opportunities around the globe. The demand, says Keyes, is significant — and it’s not hard to see why.
Q5: What do you think sets South African talent apart in the global workforce?
Emily Keyes: The creative talent that comes out of South Africa just gets better and better every year. We’re seeing a lot of advertising agencies and startups abroad looking for South African expat talent, and for so many different reasons. [It’s] not only due to the fact that we speak English but also that real hardcore conceptual work comes out of SA. It’s not just a country that adapts and translates overseas adverts. SA is fast becoming the creative hub of Africa, and is what Amsterdam is to Europe, Singapore is to Asia and what Dubai is to the Middle East. With local awards such as the Loeries and Bookmarks, it is making it easy for global companies to choose award-winning talent. SA creatives are winning big at the global awards, too, like Cannes Lions.
Q5: Which parts of the world are most keen to hire Saffers?
EK: A whole mixture! We’ve identified SA talent for expat roles in Amsterdam, Germany, Copenhagen, Singapore, Vietnam, Dubai, Kenya and many more.
Q5: Which industries seem most keen on retaining their talent in SA?
EK: Most local companies within the creative and digital world want to retain their talent here at home. As much as local talent is leaving the country and becoming expats in other [parts] of the world, we would love to bring SA talent back home. As we’re in such a creative hub, SA talent working abroad is starting to realise the creative opportunities [that exist] here at home, and we’re seeing a lot of creatives moving back with their international experience. So we are kind of shifting people around depending on what they are looking for in their careers, whether to be an expat or to come back to SA.
Q5: Let’s talk money. How do local salaries stack up against those offered for the same roles in other countries?
EK: Salaries are completely different in every part of the world depending on the cost of living, so when we do work on expat roles, we think of the bigger picture, not just what that creative should be paid, but in terms of relocation budget, sponsorship, whether that creative is moving with a family and children, etc. I’d say the majority of creatives we place overseas do very well with their new compensation package in their new city!
Q5: Do you know of any easy hacks for effortlessly convincing members of global adland that South Africans are just as awesome as their foreign counterparts?
EK: Easy things we could do or say to change perspectives? To be honest, based on the [number] of our global clients who love to take on SA talent, it’s very clear to see how insanely talented SA creatives are! Year on year, I have noticed more and more South Africans win global awards or produce a campaign that hasn’t been seen anywhere else in the world. There are so many places in the world that do adaptations and translations but, here in SA, it’s not about that at all. There’s real conceptual work that goes into advertising here, and that is what appeals to a lot of global companies. We’ve also noticed a huge shift of independent agencies here merging with networks, which just proves how hot on the radar SA is.
- Find out more about The Talent Boom at thetalentboom.com.
Carey Finn (@carey_finn) is a writer and editor with a decade and a half of industry experience, having covered everything from ethical sushi in Japan to the technicalities of roofing, agriculture, medical stuff and more. She’s also taught English and journalism, and dabbled in various other communications ventures along the way, including risk reporting. As a contributing writer to MarkLives.com, her new regular column “Q5” aims to hone in on strategic insights, analysis and data through punchy interviews with experts in media, marketing and design.