This paper studies the relation between firms’ export and import status, and the quantity and types of employment they offer, using firm-level data from 47 African countries in 2006-14. The paper also analyses how the quality of policies at the country-level relates to the difference between exporters and non-exporters, and between importers and non-importers. This paper shows that both exporters and importers employ on average more full-time permanent workers than their respective non-trading counterparts, even after controlling for a wide range of firm-level characteristics. This employment premium is larger in countries with a better quality of infrastructure. In addition, importers employ higher shares of non-production workers compared with non-importers. In addition, both exporters and importers are characterized by higher shares of female employment than their non-trading counterparts. Successful gender policies are positively associated with the female employment premium of trading firms. This paper also finds that there is a larger proportion of temporary workers in the workforce of exporters compared with non-exporters, but a better developed rural sector reduces this difference in the use of temporary manpower. The results presented in this paper suggest that the quality of policies has an impact on the extent to which trading firms are able to generate decent job opportunities in Africa.