Strategies to Deter Turnover Intentions amongst Expatriate Academics in the Institutions of Higher Learning in South Africa

Pauline Edwige Ngo-Henha, Njabulo Khumalo


The retention of talented academics is a growing concern for many institutions of higher learning. The multinational expatriates are perceived as individuals sent by multinational cooperation to a subsidiary to transfer knowledge. The expatriate academics labeled as “knowledge workers” are those individuals with outstanding skills that chose to go and work abroad on their own accord. The literature reveals that expatriate academics have a high tendency to quit when their expectations are not met. Scholars contend that researching turnover intentions is important as it can provide an indication of an individual’s perception and judgment, and it can be assessed in the present to help understand and possibly deter the cause of actual turnover. Therefore, the paper aimed to provide sound strategies to the management of the institutions of higher learning that can be used in ensuring that quality expatriate academics are retained in South Africa Universities and a wake-up call to other countries. The paper adopted a quantitative approach to collect data using a five Likert-scale questionnaire from 125 expatriate academics employed in two universities in South Africa. A snowball method was adopted and all data collected were analyzed using SPSS version 25, which generated data into tables. The paper reveals that many expatriate academics felt that the strategies to manage and retain talents were insufficient, leaders of the institutions should provide millennial expatriate academics with a flexible working environment to balance work, and family lives. It further reveals a need to compensate expatriate academics with tailored-made benefits. The paper recommends that the institutions of higher learning in South Africa recruit expatriate academics on a full-time basis to enhance commitment and engagement and deter turnover intentions. 

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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