Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
10 Jun 2019
6:35 am

SA companies having trouble retaining skilled staff

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Out of over 20,000 professionals interviewed, satisfaction levels were at six out of 10.

Picture: iStock

South African companies are having trouble retaining the already scarce skilled workforce in the country, a new survey revealed this weekend.

According to findings in the Most Attractive Employers 2019 survey by rankings firm Universum SA, the most attractive employers offered job safety and security. Google, Investec and Discovery ranked in the top three, respectively, in the category of business and commerce employers.

The department of higher education and training, the department of health, as well as the department of justice were in the top three of their respective categories (humanities, health and law).

Universum SA country manager Keshia Serage said the negative effects of the current economic climate played a major role in why banks were beginning to capture the attention of local business talent to become the industry of choice, followed by the accounting, auditing and financial services industries.

The survey quizzed nearly 70,000 South Africans, including 45,000 students and, as Serge pointed out, surviving tough economic conditions trumped other employment factors in attracting employees. She said one of the biggest demands by employees was the potential for personal development.

But South African companies were failing to hit the right chord for South Africa’s millennial workforce. Over half of young South African professionals were unhappy in their jobs and looking to change employers within the next 12 months, the survey found.

Out of over 20,000 professionals interviewed, satisfaction levels were sitting at an average of six out of 10. This spoke to a greater need to focus on employers engaged with talent. On average, employees changed jobs within the first two years of employment.

“The first thing is to always look at the indicators and looking out for what talent is saying they want,” Serge advised employers.

“If they are saying they want to be developed, which is the biggest one, companies that tend to demonstrate this tend to hit the nail on the head. But of course, there are various factors. There never is one answer when it comes to talent. What is important to them at the time is driven by issues on a socio-economic level and what the impact of the political landscape or even the economic landscape is at the time.”

High ethical standards, security and stability of employment ranked highly in the priorities of young female employees. On the flip side, Serge said millennials who wanted to make themselves easier to retain or employ needed to have a competitive edge over the growing role of machines and machine learning.

This not only entailed skills in information technology but the ability to do what machines could not do: interact better with humans.

“The goods and services provided by these machines have to be delivered to humans, and that is where the talent comes in. They have to have the ability to display more such skills, such as judgment and engaging with people.”


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