South Africa positioned in top five global human resource outsourcing destinations

Cape Town, 21 Nov 2018
Read time 4min 10sec

South Africa has secured fifth place as a top global offshore location for human resource outsourcing (HRO) services, including recruitment process and learning services outsourcing. This was one of the key findings in the 2018-2019 Global HRO and Employee Experience Market Intelligence Survey published by research firm, Knowledge Executive.

Over 200 large and medium-sized enterprises in Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States participated in the survey and disclosed their HRO investment plans, pain points and challenges, skills, technology and service provider requirements, and favourite offshore locations.

Offshoring value proposition

South Africa's significant rise in the global outsourcing arena is due in part to its high-end, recognised human capital skills in such core areas as banking and financial services, legal process services, procurement services, multi-channel customer experience and IT outsourcing (ITO). The country also has evolving next-generation talent to provide customer analytics augmented by its ability to deploy cutting-edge HRO operations utilising robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI).

The decision to offshore HR functions depends greatly on a client's specific requirements, geographical location, and the internal HR environment.

This is due largely to the rise in the adoption of cloud-based solutions, as this makes cloud-enabled HRO operations location-agnostic. "As the move to more automation and AI-enabled systems accelerates and FTE-based models reduce, we can expect to see the playing ground in terms of location further levelled," says Alicia Kistan, senior general manager: Shared Services, WNS Global Services SA.

India's well-established and mature outsourcing market makes it a top destination for offshore HRO services, says the report. The availability of multi-process solutions, advanced technological capabilities, a workforce proficient in English, and inherent expertise are leading reasons for the India's global dominance (ranked first place in the survey).

"South Africa, on the other hand, offers a broad range of HRO services that span transactional and specialised functions, scoring well among respondents in the survey," says Kistan "As an offshore location, we are well-known for delivering excellent experiences for project-based, multi-process recruitment payroll and learning services outsourcing."

Employee experience

The survey also noted that employee experience (EX) has become a core focus area for many large and medium enterprises. Organisations globally are increasingly looking to craft a compelling work environment that acknowledges and rewards excellence, while ensuring worker health and job fulfilment.

"Employees are important stakeholders in an organisation, as important as customers. While customers are a source of revenue, it is employees who make that happen. If they are treated with the care and respect they need, which goes beyond basic performance recognition and reward, and work in an environment that boosts their health and happiness, you create a highly engaged and productive workforce," says Kistan.

"The more engaged an employee is, the longer they stay at a company and the more value they add. An engaged employee is also a 'go-getter'. Creating a working environment where employee engagement is high requires flexibility to maintain work-life balance and job satisfaction, which is extremely important in relation to employee productivity and workplace happiness."

Learning services and skills development

Digital enablement is the overwhelming trend in organisational learning and skills development, according to the survey. The outsourcing of e-learning platforms, applications and technology is prolific among respondents to the survey, with less than 10% stating they plan to keep these functions in-house. Training needs analysis (43%) and digitised document management (48%) were highlighted as the next growth areas for learning outsourced services.

However, despite these trends, an over-reliance on e-learning can fall short of meeting an organisation's strategic learning and skills development objectives. "E-learning has often been a knee-jerk reaction to the disproportionate focus on classroom-based learning. It can be effective when not done in isolation and will increasingly be used to prepare talent for the future," says Judy Robison, general manager: HR, Ucademy.

"However, if it's not curated and driven, e-learning does not work outside of context. Blended learning is therefore the ideal approach, because it combines all elements and pulls them all together."

Robison's opinions were echoed by the preferred training models rated among the survey respondents that include blended (93%), distance (94%) and open access (90%) learning, with an overwhelming requirement for facilitation and coaching support (93%). And, despite the rise of e-learning, classroom-based learning (86%) remains an important delivery model.

To download a copy of the survey, please go to:

Knowledge Executive

Knowledge Executive empowers and enables global knowledge leaders. It co-creates and publishes business, trade and investment research, market intelligence and insights for executives of today's experience economy. This includes commissioned and syndicated specialist research reports covering business process outsourcing (BPO), and qualitative and quantitative customer experience (CX) surveys across key vertical industries. Please see for further information.


WNS (Holdings) (NYSE: WNS) is a leading global business process management company. WNS offers business value to 300+ global clients by combining operational excellence with deep domain expertise in key industry verticals, including travel, insurance, banking and financial services, manufacturing, retail and consumer packaged goods, shipping and logistics, healthcare and utilities. WNS delivers an entire spectrum of business process management services such as finance and accounting, customer interaction services, technology solutions, research and analytics and industry-specific back-office and front-office processes. As of 30 June 2017, WNS had 34 789 professionals across 52 delivery centres worldwide, including China, Costa Rica, India, Philippines, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. For more information, visit:

WNS South Africa

WNS Global Services SA has been in operation since 2003 and has built a reputation as the industry-leading business process outsourcing (BPO) company in South Africa, with a growing footprint into Africa. WNS Global Services SA is a strategic partner for delivering a full range of basic to complex business processes from its seven delivery centres across South Africa, employing 4 000+ people.

Editorial contacts
WNS SA Cornita Mortarotti (021) 983 6472
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