The Great Return: Now is time to walk the talk

Thu, 27/10/2022 - 14:30

Remote working in South Africa seems to be a point of contention, including in the advertising and media industry.

Do a quick Google search and you’re going to find many articles with conflicting opinions.

When I did a quick poll on my Linkedin page, I got a similar response. Some say that their businesses are fully remote and they’re happy about it, some say that they don’t trust their workers enough to keep them remote, noting dips in productivity.

On the side of the workers, there is a lot of conflict too. Some miss the interactions they had with colleagues, others find the home office environment a more productive space. There are a lot more factors, but that isn’t the crux of the matter.

The real issue

What is the crux of the matter is that because remote work is so prevalent internationally, overseas businesses have recognised South Africa as a market ripe with cheap resources.

To give you an example, a community manager earns around $50,000 p/a in the US. In South Africa, a similar resource will cost you R180,000 a year.

In other words, if you’re working from home for a US business, you’re earning R800,000 a year. US businesses can pay a South African somewhat less and get the same level of competence. It’s a no-brainer.

The ramifications are obvious. Local businesses are losing resources to international companies. It’s just impossible to compete with those kinds of salaries.

This creates a scarcity of local staff resources, making recruitment a protracted process, putting pressure on existing staff to fill the gap.

This in turn drives existing staff to also look for international remote work as well. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

Let’s recap, you’re earning triple your salary, you’re working fully from home, and in many instances you are working shorter hours. Why would you keep working at a South Africa business?

This article was originally published on

Need Assistance with Digital Strategy?

Rogerwilco’s team of strategists, business analysts and data scientists is here to help.