Little has changed on employment equity front - report

Pretoria – Little has changed in the past three years when it comes to transformation and reducing inequality in the labour sector, a report revealed.

The Commission for Employment Equity Annual Report released on Tuesday highlights the current state of employment equity.

Tabea Kabinde, chairperson of the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE), presented the findings obtained from equity reports received for 2016. More (4.8%) reports were received in 2016 than in 2015, the total being 26 255.

READ: Premature and absurd to scrap affirmative action, says Oliphant

Findings since 2014 show minimal changes. Among the African population, there has been an increase of only 0.8% in top management level positions. For women, the situation only improved by 1.1%.

Statistics also showed that the majority (68.5%) of top management positions were occupied by whites, contrasting with 14.4% of positions occupied by the African population. More than three-quarters (78%) of these positions were occupied by males, with females only taking up a 22% share. Persons with disabilities only constitute 1.2% of top management level positions. 

Within the private sector, the white population occupied 72% of top management positions, in contrast with the public sector where the majority (73.2%) of top management positions were occupied by the African population.

Similarly, only 1.6% more Africans were in senior management positions. Foreign nationals occupying these positions declined by 1.7% over the past three years.

INFOGRAPHIC: Employment Equity stats as a glance

More than half (58.1%) of the senior management positions were occupied by the white population. The African population made up less than a quarter (22.1%) of these positions. Two-thirds of these positions were occupied by males. Persons with disabilities constitute 1.1% of these jobs. 

In the private sector, 63.4% of senior positions were occupied by the white population. In the public sector, 65.8% of these positions were occupied by Africans. 

Kabinde said observations on the lack of transformation show that corporates do not prioritise employment equity within business strategy.

She explained that the CEE had arranged engagements throughout the year, where CEOs and other key role players were invited. Only three CEOs had attended some of these meetings.

“This tells the extent to which top management looks or deals with transformation with seriousness, this shows no seriousness. There is no engagement, no need or desire to drive transformation in the workplace,” said Kabinde.

Kabinde added that there are still “gatekeepers in companies” who continue to bring in “their own kind” instead of promoting transformation. She explained there was a lack of upskilling of employees to help them move up in the businesses. Further, preference was given to foreign nationals, especially at lower levels, because they are “easy” to exploit.

The proposed solutions include the introduction central targets to help expedite transformation.

ALSO READ: Oliphant: JSE firms culprits in stalling transformation

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant added that the report reflected a “painfully slow pace of transformation” in the South African labour market. She explained that ensuring administrative compliance would help the situation. She suggested that non-compliance is not only the fault of employers, but also of employees who are complacent.

“I call on workers to be vigilant, by ensuring they truly scrutinise the equity plans and reports,” said Kabinde, adding that she encouraged workers to report violations.

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