Africa’s Top Employers 2019

The best companies in Africa to work for in 2019.


An employee-centric strategy plays an imperative role in achieving successful business results over a sustained period. Billy Elliott, Top Employers Institute Regional Manager: Africa, describes the company’s work in certifying excellence in employee conditions and shares some of the key research highlights from 2019.

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

For 28 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 (see the box overleaf for a summary of the Certification Programme).

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

I am proud to share an overview and key research highlights from Africa’s Top Employers 2019 Certification Programme.

Two hundred and nine organisations in Africa officially registered to participate in this year’s Certification Programme. One hundred and ninety-five organisations spanning 31 African countries and 23 industry sectors achieved the Top Employers 2019 Certification. Ninety-nine 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.

Eighty-four percent 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: FMCG (55), Transport & Logistics (37), Telecommunications (26), Manufacturing (22) and Pharmaceuticals (14).

Fourteen 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) Cultural and 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.

Sixty-three percent 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%). Eighty-three percent 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 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 in Johannesburg, South Africa. They became part of an exclusive global “employer of choice” community and can credibly lay claim to having achieved certified excellence in employee conditions for the next year.

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Africa’s Top Employers for 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.

The Top Employer Certification Programme

Companies with a proven strategic investment in employee conditions can earn certification as a Top Employer after completing a four-stage Certification Programme and if their results in the HR Best Practices Survey meet the Global Certification Cut-off.


At the core of the Top Employers Certification Programme is the HR Best Practices Survey, which covers 10 topics, with 100 questions spanning approximately 600 practices.

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, stakeholders in multiple countries have validated it and assisted with its development into the progressive survey it is today.

Top four trends shaping HR in Africa in 2019

The progression of HR in Africa has seen leaders following four best practices that all organisations should encompass for their future HR developments. Companies in Africa that understand these trends and take advantage of them are sure to get more business and grow – while those who fail to address them may fall behind, and become less competitive in the business world.

1. Creating a future-proof workforce

As the pace of change accelerates both inside and outside organisations, Top Employers are proactive in Africa, and keep both the present – and future – needs of their workplace in mind.

In service of this, Top Employers in Africa are looking at how they can prepare their company to produce the leaders of the future, by investing in their current employees.

Over the past three years, Top Employers globally have boosted Workplace Planning efforts by 5.1%, and leadership development by 6.4%. In addition, 73% of Top Employers in Africa regularly inform employees about future business strategy, and how this affects long-term workforce needs.

2. Culture change

The changing culture of the workplace is a big factor in HR management – both in Africa and worldwide. The culture of work is changing, particularly in white-collar jobs.

Today’s organisations are more inclusive – and this is one of the things that potential employees look at when determining whether or not to join an organisation. A “melting pot” that is full of diversity in race, gender, ideology, religion, and other such factors is seen as highly desirable – as are diverse individual teams.

Eighty-five percent of Top Employers globally think that gender equality should be a top priority, and nine out of 10 Top Employers are looking to increase age diversity, by employing more millennials and recent graduates, as well as older individuals with a depth of experience.

In addition, Top Employers need to focus on creating new business leaders who can help encourage change from the ground up, and contribute to a healthy workplace culture.

3. Improving the employee experience

Creating a flexible work environment and driving a better employee experience are major factors that are influencing Africa’s Top Employers.

Today’s employees expect a greater sense of freedom – and flexible work arrangements that let them accomplish their tasks on their own schedule, as well as the ability to work from home. Seventy percent of Top Employers globally have a flexible office arrangement, which maximizes productivity.

This extends to salary and benefits, as well – 56% of Africa’s Top Employers are ensuring that their total rewards offerings and compensation are designed to encompass not just work satisfaction but all of the life-cycle elements which employees encounter during their working experiences.

4. Driving the operational impact of HR

The final factor affecting HR in Africa in 2019 is the ability of HR to evolve with the current digital landscape, and enable better business performance with high operational impact. Many Top Employers in Africa are already doing this – 73% of Africa’s Top Employers have committed to using modern technology to gather HR metrics and data to help with fact-based decision-making about the workforce.

And, to ensure HR has a high operational impact on the future, many companies are creating new HR positions, such as HR Data Analysts, Data and Technology Integrator, and many more – which will become more prominent over the coming months and years.


Subscribe for full access

You've reached the maximum number of free articles for this month.

Digital Monthly

£8.00 / month

Receive full unlimited access to our articles, opinions, podcasts and more.

Digital Yearly

£70.00 / year

Receive full unlimited access to our articles, opinions, podcasts and more.