Stay put, Zimbabweans tell diasporans in survey

MORE than eight in every 10 formally employed workers in Zimbabwe will not encourage their relatives in the Diaspora to come back home despite being relatively optimistic of the inclusive government formed in February.


An employee confidence survey carried by Industrial Psychology Consultants, a human resources think tank in June shows that 83% of workers in the survey sample — drawn from industry and commerce —would advise their relatives and peers beyond the borders to continue working outside the country.

Interestingly this poll was conducted in the same month Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai –– during his three-week international tour seeking to engage Zimbabwe with the West and the United States –– failed to convince Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom to come back home.  
“When asked what advice they will give to their Diaspora relatives at this stage of our economic development, 83,1% of the respondents said ‘hold-on there. It is still a long way to go’ and 16,9% said ‘come back home now, employment opportunities are available’,” reads the survey.
“While the economy seems to be stabilising the majority of respondents feel it is not yet the time to advise their Diaspora relatives and friends to come back home. There is still a lot of work to be done on the ground by the inclusive government to increase the confidence of the populace.”
An area of major concern for employees according to the survey is that the economy is not creating more jobs as shown by 59,6% of formally employed not feeling that they were secure in their current jobs and were actively searching for other job opportunities. With manufacturing industry operating at 10% capacity and most banks on flexi-time, workers in the two sectors seemed hardest hit by the transitional period.
Low salaries, the poll further stated, would make it difficult for companies to attract skilled labour that moved to more economically active countries.
“While the government and the private sector have been holding conference after conference, including rebranding of the country in order to attract foreign investment thereby creating employment, very little is happening on the ground to impact positively on the lives of the working population. The government has been very slow to implement key initiatives to inspire confidence in working population,” the survey said.
However, at least half of Zimbabwean workers continue to pin their hopes on their current employers while the other half considers moving on.
An estimated 50,7% of employers interviewed in the survey feel that the future of the employees was bright, compared to 49,30% who said they do not see a bright future for their employees.
When asked if they were confident of finding a new job in the current environment, 76% of the respondents said yes. Out of these, 83% aged below 25 years said they were confident of finding a new job compared to 87% in the 26 – 30 age group, 70% in the 30 – 40 age group and 80% of those above 40 years.
Eighty percent of the respondents said they were confident of getting a new job compared to 66% for the females out of the hopefuls, while 78% of the managerial employees also indicated that they were confident of getting a new job.
When analysed by marital status 76% of married employees said they were confident of getting a job compared to 82% for the single (never married) and 67% for the single (married before).
At least 34% of the interviewed workers view career development as the major source of stress followed by 28% who view “lack of job security’ as another stressor. More than a 10th of workers according to the poll are discontent over management style with 6% worried about “lack of communication on the developments in the company”.
 The cited top stressors seem to cut across all the demographic categories like age and gender. “Those with post graduation qualifications are more worried about job security (36%), while those with first degrees (40,4%) and those with diplomas (47,9%) are worried about developing their career. Employees with ‘A’ Levels are stressed by lack of job security,” the report said.
When analysed by industry, the results indicate the top stressors for the major industries are as follows: manufacturing employees are stressed by the need to develop their career (27,3%), compared to “lack of job security-actively looking for a job” at 4,6% for the financial services employees. In mining the major stressor is the need to develop their careers at 30,8%. This same stressor is true for those in the NGO or diplomatic sector at 40%.”

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