Top salaries, free accommodation, subsidised phone calls, and fully stocked
fridges.Little wonder medical professionals continue to leave South Africa in favourof lusher - and more lucrative - pastures overseas.
Nurses, traditionally low earners here, can earn up to double their salariesabroad while enjoying unrivalled perks and attractive allowances.
Nurses are paid around R220 000 yearly in the UK. Locum radiographers, in short supply both locally and internationally, can make a whopping R550 000 yearly.
Johannesburg-based recruitment specialist Julie Coode has already had 150 responses to an advert she placed a few weeks ago for nurses to work on a two-year renewable contract in Australia.
Some 30 nurses, who answered her previous advert in March, are already on their way.
The responses have come predominantly from black nurses from both private and state hospitals, says Coode. They want safety, more money and better recognition.
Packages include a minimum salary of around R200 000 a year, free accommodation for the whole family, a fridge full of food on arrival, and several free phone calls home.
Some facilities have even reserved jobs for nurses' husbands, like handymen and bus driver positions.
Meanwhile, a private hospital group in SA has managed to halve the number of its nurses resigning to take up overseas jobs by offering better salaries and conditions.
I don't believe the comparison between salary and work conditions here and overseas is valid, said Afrox Healthcare's KZN manager, Dr Grant Rex. If nurses were prepared to work in rural areas here and do overtime, they could save as much as they do overseas.
Nurses overseas often led a miserable existence, living in bedsits and working in conditions no better than here, he claims.
The Middle East was a big attraction for nurses, Rex conceded, where tax-free salaries are making it hard for SA companies to compete. (Source: The Cape Argus, 26 November 2003).