Ranging from parastatal bodies to private entities, recruiting foreign expertise for important positions such as CEOs or managers is a common practice in Mauritius. However, this practice is not welcomed by some professionals who believe that the Mauritian expertise must be put forward. Nevertheless, there are some professionals who still maintain that foreign expertise brings a surplus to the country.
Pallavi Meghna Devi Agnihotri: “Foreign professionals fill the skills gap”
Employing foreign professionals has always been romanticized but today, it is one of the burning issues of our paradise island, says Pallavi. “Tourism, the third pillar of the Mauritian economy, is evolving rapidly with a growing number of palatial hotels across the island. Taking the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius as an example, the General Manager is a non-citizen of Mauritius and it is the same for Royal Park Hotel. Upon scrutinization, it can be noted that their levels of profits are at a rare high. However, the former La Plantation Hotel, now known as The Ravenala Attitude, had as head a Mauritian but has not been able to survive the cut-throat competition in the market. Furthermore, the MRA, a parastatal organization in Mauritius, has a foreigner as Director General. The MRA has been performing well these past few years with a growth in revenue collections. Following the trend, we should employ foreign professionals since they fill the skills gaps while bringing new expertise and know-how.”
She states that for Mauritians to be among the professionals, we need major reforms in our educational system; we cannot expect our children to have innate leadership skills. “A CEO must not only be well-versed about the technicalities but should be a good leader, thus incorporating leadership as a new subject would be a stepping stone. Moreover, our youngsters should be given the opportunity to follow internship programs under the umbrella of highly experienced companies such as the ENL. Interning abroad will give our youngsters something much more than passport stamps. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. So let’s encourage changes to allow Mauritian professionals to be at the top, too.”
Vijaya Luxmee Ramdany: “Mauritian professionals should be given more technical training”
Along with academic qualifications, the right skills and experience are necessary conditions that should be met to win an entry level position in the Foreign Service or anywhere else, believes Vijaya Luxmee. “Mauritius should continue employing foreign expertise to run our institutions as long as they are doing their job ethically and enhancing the success of the company. There is no school for CEOs, except the school of experience. No matter where a company is located or what it makes, it’s the CEO who must set the strategy and direction. He should be the role model for setting the company’s culture, values and behavior. Operations, marketing, strategy, financing, creation of company culture, human resources, hiring, firing, compliance with safety regulations, sales, PR and so on. For Mauritian professionals to have access to higher level positions they should be given more technical training; the education system should be reviewed and inculcating people with values should be promoted.”
Mitesh Daboo: “Hiring foreign professionals is beneficial for our economy”
Mitesh Daboo explains that having foreign professionals among us is beneficial for our economy. “They possess the required knowledge and experience, as we may see in the case of the Tourism Industry, General Managers, Resort Manager and Executive Chefs. Such posts come with great responsibilities. Working with foreign professionals will definitely help a Mauritian to learn and in the process, lead him or her to explore career opportunities in several international companies so that our budding experts may acquire the necessary experience to be able to lead as CEO or Manager.”
Mehtab Sheik Abdoola: “Mauritians do possess the intellectual capacity”
Mehtaab argues that there are some credible reasons behind the need to employ foreign professionals, whether low-skilled or high-skilled in Mauritius. “One of the most obvious reasons, when it comes specifically to the issue of employing foreign professionals (directors, Chief Executive Officers or Chairmen) in our private and/or public institutions, is the wide range of expertise and experience held by such people in their respective fields. “Besides, from a macroeconomic perspective, the influence brought by these migrant workers tends to be evident on economic growth. As such, there can be not only a sharing of ideas and know-how between colleagues, but also there is an overall improvement in labour productivity.”
She further adds that “one of the principal actions to be undertaken is a change in our educational system which eventually propels our youth to develop a creative and highly-critical mind. “It is a good thing to see some positive reforms already within our educational arena, but more should definitely be done. Besides, some Mauritians do possess the intellectual capacity to occupy such high-level posts. But sometimes, they are not given the opportunity simply because there is a lack of belief in such people. Most importantly though, I think we all should take some calculated risks sometimes and keep cruising in relation to our professional pathways.”
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