Africa’s Top Employers 2019

The Top Employers Institute is the global HR authority on certifying excellence in employee conditions.

For over 25 years, the Top Employers Institute has been dedicated to accelerating the impact of people strategies to enrich the world of work through certification, benchmarking and connecting Top Employers around the world. Through our HR Best Practices Survey, we enable organisations to assess and improve their workplace environment. The leading edge international research provided by the Top Employers Institute each year determines whether an organisation meets the required standard of excellence for certification as a Top Employer.

We certify organisations in single countries, on different continents and even on a global scale. We recognise Top Employers based on a global six-stage Certification Programme governed by a standardised process, recognising the conditions created by organisations for a “best-in-class” development environment for employees.

It gives me great pleasure to share an overview and some of the main research highlights and statistics from this year’s Top Employers Certification Programme conducted in Africa:

  • 209 organisations in Africa officially registered to participate in this year’s Certification Programme. 195 organisations spanning 31 African countries and 23 industry sectors achieved the Top Employers 2019 Certification. 99 certified organisations will carry the South African Certification, while 96 certified Top Employers from other African countries outside of South Africa have also been certified.
  • 84% of the certified population in Africa are multinational corporations, while the remaining 16% are national companies.
  • The countries with the most certified organisations are: South Africa (99), Kenya (8), Nigeria (8), Egypt (7), Ghana (7), Morocco (6), Mozambique (5), Tanzania (5), Zambia (5), Zimbabwe (5), and Tunisia (5). Certification has also been achieved for the very first time by an organisation in Burkina Faso.
  • The top five industry sectors in Africa with the greatest representation are: Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (55), Transport & Logistics (37), Telecommunications (26), Manufacturing (22) and Pharmaceuticals (14).
  • 14 organisations made up of 101 certified operations have earned the right to carry their country-specific and the continental certifications. The coveted Top Employers Africa Certification is earned when an organisation is certified in a minimum of four or more African countries in the same year. These international organisations have proven they are able to offer a consistently harmonised development experience for their employees, no matter where they are located on the continent.
  • According to our research, Africa’s top five HR Priorities are: Talent Strategy, Employee Engagement, Leadership Development, Learning & Development (Support) and Cultural & Organisational Change.
  • Excluding non-certified organisations, the average overall score achieved by this year’s group of Top Employers is 83%. This impressive score doesn’t come as a surprise when we see the calibre of multinational and national brands certified. These organisations dedicate themselves to continuous improvement, ensuring they can provide the very best working environment for their employees through progressive “people-first” HR best practices.
  • The top three best-performing topics in our HR Best Practices Survey are Workforce Planning (91%), Leadership Development (89%) and Career & Succession Management (88%), while the three topics requiring the most improvement are Talent Acquisition (73%), Compensation & Benefits (77%) and Learning & Development (82%).
  • A high absenteeism rate can negatively impact an organisation’s bottom line and is a clear sign of other underlying problems. The collective Top Employers average absenteeism rate is a meagre 3%. This important HR metric and impressive statistic proves that employees at these reputable organisations have high levels of productivity, which can attributed to the world-class HR practices used to drive engagement.
  • 63% of Africa’s Top Employers measure their leadership satisfaction trend annually and indicated that their organisation’s is: stable (23%), slightly improved (18%) or strongly improved (15%). 83% measure their employee satisfaction trend annually and indicated that their organisation is: stable (21%), slightly improved (24%) or strongly improved (19%).
  • Drawing a comparison over the last five years, these Top Employers have indicated the following: revenue growth is stable (21%), slightly improved (22%) or strongly improved (38%). Market share is stable, (28%) slightly improved (30%) or strongly improved (23%). Profitability is stable (21%), slightly improved (26%), or strongly improved (31%). Customer satisfaction is stable (30%), slightly improved (19%) or strongly improved (34%). These organisations ensure that the development of their people is a top business priority and invest accordingly. Based on the statistics shared, it’s clear this employee-centric strategy plays an imperative role in achieving successful business results over a sustained period, driven by a highly engaged and motivated workforce.
  • Perhaps the most important and meaningful statistic is that this year’s group of Top Employers have positively impacted the lives of approximately 541 000 employees in Africa with the world-class HR conditions they currently have in place (and the improvements that will be made through our benchmarking process).
  • These high-performing organisations were officially certified at the annual Certification Dinner on October 4, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. They then became a part of an exclusive global “employer of choice” community and can credibly lay claim to having achieved certified excellence in employee conditions for a year.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Africa’s Top Employers 2019. These are organisations of the highest calibre, continuously working hard to create, implement and progress their people strategies and practices.

    They provide an outstanding experience through “best-in-class” workplace programmes, creating a thriving environment that empowers and develops employees at all levels.

    Billy Elliott is Top Employers Institute Country Manager: Africa 

    Top Employer Institute: research methodology


    Companies with a proven strategic investment in employee conditions can earn the certification as a Top Employer after completing a six-stage Certification Programme, to determine if their results in the HR Best Practices Survey meet the global certification cut-off.

    The research process is standard across all territories, and the certification itself is based on a universal standard, which means HR policies, practices and employee conditions covered in the HR Best Practices Survey can be applied globally. The programme’s six stages are:

    At the core of the Top Employer Certification Programme is the HR Best Practices Survey. The Top Employers Institute strives to keep the certification standard reflective of global trends in HR and people development. The HR Best Practices Survey is thus reviewed and updated annually. Over the years we have collaborated with stakeholders in multiple countries (partners, industry experts, universities, HR professionals, consultancy companies and our Top Employers) who have validated the HR Best Practices Survey and assisted with its development, to make it the progressive survey it is today.

    The HR Best Practices Survey

    The HR Best Practices Survey covers 10 topics. Spanning these topics are 100 questions covering approximately 600 practices. Each topic is structured to ask questions that cover the following as they relate to the specific practice or policy.

    The survey contains 10 topics:

    A. Talent Strategy

    B. Workforce Planning

    C. Talent Acquisition

    D. On-boarding

    E. Learning & Development

    F. Performance Management

    G. Leadership Development

    H. Career and Succession Management

    I. Compensation and Benefits

    J. Culture

    Structure of the questions within the topics:

  • Strategy and Policy
  • Priorities
  • Role & Support of Executive Management
  • Practices
  • Measurement/Evaluation of Practices
  • Specific KPIs (key performance indicators)
  • Technology Support
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