By Luyanda Pewa, head of KZN region at Mindworx Consulting.

Don’t listen to the doomsayers: there are opportunities for business growth across Africa and the Middle East, you just have to be prepared to go there. We expanded our own operation beyond our Johannesburg headquarters last year by opening an office in KZN, and we already have five consultants in place there.

From both our offices we do a lot of cross-border placement and we’ve learnt from experience that the more open candidates are to global mobility, the easier it is to place them in new and better positions.

Times might be tough in your city or your industry, but as soon as you look beyond your own borders your opportunities expand dramatically. For example, we’re currently recruiting for a company director to be based in the Middle East, not for a Middle Eastern client but for a South African company which is rapidly expanding into the region. The person who gets this position has a great opportunity to develop with the company.

Cross-border recruitment requires a specialist approach. As the recruiter needs the insight to understand what the client needs in each of their specific markets, and we need to be quite sure what each of our candidates is – and is not – capable of. We have a deep understanding of local knowledge and culture in the countries that we operate in, and care deeply about the way our role changes individual lives and transforms businesses, which is why we aim to build long-standing relationships.

To complete the picture, cross-border recruitment also requires excellent and extensive networks.

We call this human capital mapping, an approach to employee staffing that perceives people as assets (human capital) whose current value can be measured and whose future value can be enhanced through investment, combined with knowing the type of employers that would be the right fit for them.

Uprooting – especially if you have a family – can be onerous, but employers who are prepared to recruit across borders should also be prepared to offer practical help with every aspect of relocating. Becoming a member of the globally mobile workforce certainly offers employees much richer lives than those who stay in one place. What’s more, it offers a helpful boost to professional experience, and therefore employability.