By Norma Tsopo
Zimbabwe’s high cost of living has been pushing skilled labour out of the country to take up jobs elsewhere despite earning similar salaries with lower cost of living holding the attractions.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) President Innocent Manyera said the massive brain drain that has robbed the hospitality industry of skilled hands was not because of poor remuneration but the general national economic outlook.
“Skills flight it’s a reality case in Zimbabwe due mainly to economic hardships not due to low salaries. Studies done showed that Zimbabwe hospitality industry is fairly paid as compared to region…Generally it’s the cost of living that pushed skills flight as compared to salaries and working conditions as we compare with other competing countries in the region,” Manyera.
He said South Africa was the most attractive destination because its food basket would leave workers on a similar salary with more disposable income.
“This meant Zimbabweans who relocate there even on a similar salary will be left with less disposable income compared to competition and that alone will contribute to skills flights besides low capacity utilization that also pushes graduates to look for jobs elsewhere.”
To address the skills gap Manyera said his association was engaging with different institutions to tailor their training to the sector’s needs.
“Different training institutions are being engaged to model their training in line with addressing the skills gap already in the country.”
He said HAZ was also “working closely with government departments like industrial and trade testing department to spearhead trade testing of all designated trades.”
He said they have identified additional trade skilled for special testing certification.
“Efforts are underway to lobby for additional designated trades. It is our call to operators to support this initiative by providing apprentice places for training to take place.”
He said skills flight have compromised the quality of the country’s tourism products.
“The skills flight to other countries with fair living conditions also compromised on the products we offer.”