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Economic indicators continue to slide, signaling a possible recession – US News & World Report ocn News,

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Economic indicators continue to slide, signaling a possible recession – US News & World Report

(Bloomberg) – Francis Eze spent nearly a decade at one of Nigeria’s biggest banks working for a salary well below what he negotiated during his interview. Single and then newly married, he found a way to manage a tighter budget.

His wife, a nurse, had told him for a long time about colleagues from his hospital who had been recruited to go abroad, but Eze was not interested. Then, with private tuition fees for two children falling due this year, the couple joined the flood of skilled Nigerians leaving the country amid a plummeting naira and stagnating economy.

“I realized how little money there was to take care of a family of four,” Eze, 38, said by phone from Toronto, where his family moved in January. “I told my wife that we had to do as the others did.”

The widespread brain drain from Africa’s most populous country – popularly known as “japa”, which means “to get out of a bad situation quickly” in the Yoruba language – is having a devastating effect on the financial sector. Banks, already suffering from rising interest rates, rising operating expenses and the threat of a spike in non-performing loans, are being forced to increase spending on training and recruitment and, in many cases to lower their hiring standards.

Read more: Nigerian banks hit by Top Tech Talent’s ‘big resignation’

“It is a reality and we are just making sure to recruit more than to leave,” Roosevelt Ogbonna, managing director of Access Bank Plc, Nigeria’s largest bank by assets, said by telephone, without specifying the number. of employees left.

According to a report released this month by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, better schools, higher salaries and more overseas benefits, combined with a lack of local job security, are pushing employees mid- and early-career abroad.

Economy in trouble

Africa’s largest economy has suffered two recessions in the past six years. Soaring inflation, which hit a 17-year high of 20.5% in August, eroded household purchasing power and reduced wages in local currency. Skilled workers are therefore turning to major western economies, where other Nigerians have made a success of their lives, especially Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The number of Nigerians who received UK work visas rose to 15,772 for the year to June, from 3,918 for the year to December 2019, the last full year before the pandemic, according to a UK Home Office report published last month.

Last week, Moody’s warned that rising inflation and interest rates could drive up non-performing loan rates among Nigerian lenders. But for banks, concerns about asset quality are currently overshadowed by employee flight.

In a bid to fill the gaps, bankers are spending more time “training the existing workforce and equipping new graduates,” which may mean lowering entry standards at some point, a said Abubakar Suleiman, chief executive of midsize lender Sterling Bank Plc. “The opportunity is to hire smarter, train better and make the bank more responsive to filling vacancies.”

The bankers’ union recommended offering remote working and modeling “the working patterns and working conditions of their staff against global practices”. Ogbonna said Access Bank looks beyond salary to create an “inclusive and conducive” environment to retain its employees, without giving further details.

Eze, who works for a food company in Canada, said ultimately it will come down to money.

“Unless you have good working conditions, including a salary that can cover your expenses and you also save money, even a little, you will think where to go,” he said.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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