Business: Solidarity Points Out Five Misconceptions in CEE Report
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The release of the 2008 report today by the Employment Equity Commission and the Commission’s chairperson, Jimmy Manyi, shows that there is still not adequate representation of the designated groups. However, according to Solidarity this is only one of many misconceptions re-emerging from this year’s report. According to an analysis done by Solidarity regarding some of the most important misconceptions and conspicuous errors in this year’s report, the report conveniently places the focus only on the four highest job levels and does not provide a full analysis of the two lowest job levels.
This year’s report was compiled from a survey of 10 580 companies’ data regarding transformation. Of these, only 7 229 reports were analysed. Solidarity has questioned the Commission’s statistical correctness. The same dubious methodology that had already been questioned by various institutions in the past was employed again this year.
The Commission’s report maintains that the skills shortages in South Africa are actually untrue. This is despite the fact that the ruling party’s Gwede Mantashe said two years ago that more than 40% of artisan positions at municipalities are vacant at any given moment.
In terms of the Commission’s report, the data allegedly shows that although black employees make up more than 50% of the representation at the qualified technical and lower management level, the representation at the next level is inadequate. The Commission believes that opportunities for black employees to therefore advance to the professional and middle-management level are disproportionate. According to Solidarity’s report, however, this is a misconception because the Commission’s report also indicates that black, male employees are actually the ones who are currently promoted the most.
Representation of black, male employees at the professional and middle-management level increased from 21,6% in 2002 to 27% in 2008. By contrast, the representation of white men at this level dropped from 47,4% to 33,2%. This is a drop of 14,2% in the representation of white men while the representation of black men increased by 5,4%. In the same category, the representation of black women increased from 9,8% in 2002 to 19,3% last year, while the representation of white women decreased from 21,1% to 18,4%. Therefore, Solidarity believes that transformation at middle-management level is in fact taking place quickly.
Meanwhile, the transformation process of senior management is also progressing. The representation of black men at this level increased by 5,6% since 2002, from 16,9% to 22,5%. Representation of white men dropped from 61,6% to 47,4% during the same period due to the implementation of the transformation policy.
According to Jaco Kleynhans, spokesperson of Solidarity, the report released today is just as statistically irrelevant as the reports from previous years. “The report compares apples to pears, and then tries to draw important conclusions. We suggest that the Commission should rather sort out its methodology before again making such wild allegations about the progress of affirmative action. Even the Commission’s poor and unscientific statistics show that affirmative action has in fact made progress. The government and the Employment Equity Commission should rather begin focusing their energy on finding better ways to overcome the skills shortage, retaining skilled and experienced South Africans for the labour market, and creating training and financing opportunities for previously disadvantaged people,” Kleynhans said.
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