Gauteng Business News

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BEE: Women Clinching Top Jobs But Transformation Remains Slow


Recent Gauteng Business News

White male professionals still dominate executive positions in certain sectors but executive women account for the majority of candidates placed at senior management levels in the past year.

The figures from one top executive headhunter shows the total number of white males they placed in the past year reflected only 20% of their overall placements – down from 55% in 2009, and 45% in 2008.

Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, MD of Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters says this dramatic decrease in the number of white male executives placed in top jobs is reflective of the transformation imperatives that corporate South Africa is working hard to achieve, in relation to both race and gender.

“The full picture for 2010 is that 48% of our placements – which are all at senior management and executive levels only - were employment equity candidates. This number is up from 40% in 2009, and 38% in 2008, translating into a 10% increase over the past 2 years”, notes Goodman-Bhyat.

“Perhaps even more significant; 56% of total placements made last year were of executive women - up from 30% in 2009, and 34% in 2008.”

These statistics are all the more noteworthy when one takes into consideration the fact that in several industry sectors transformation has been extremely slow to take root, and senior management positions are still dominated by white males.

“Looking back at 2010, there have been certain sectors where we’ve been mandated to source people at an executive level (i.e. CEO and reporting EXCO) where we have been very surprised at the lack of transformation.

“For example, the merchandising heads within the top six fashion retailers are 96% white. In the waste management and industrial cleaning sectors our figures show 84,5% at executive level are white professionals.

“The property sector is notoriously untransformed with 82,7% of its professionals at executive level white when one tallies all property focused sectors including listed and unlisted property companies, as well as the property divisions within banks.

“The challenge in specialized areas like these is how to make a meaningful change in the demographics of executive teams which are still mostly populated by white professionals – companies can consider headhunting professionals from outside of their niche, which is often not ideal, or commit to promoting the up and coming talent within their organization. But the latter solution requires time and patience.”

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