Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  19 Jun 2014

HR: Stability/Security Attract Young Professionals & Job Seekers


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Universum, the internationally known and recognised global thought leader in employer branding, recently announced the IDEAL™ Employer Rankings of South African employers in 2013 as voted by South Africa’s tertiary students, MBA’s and professionals. To determine these rankings Universum conducts research on an annual basis that surveys 33 285 students from all 23 accredited universities, as well as 10 830 young professionals.

Universum has been conducting this type of research globally for over 20 years and in South Africa for 8 years with the purpose to improve the communications between students, career services and employers.

One of the macro trends that came out of the research this year is the importance of security and as critical in the thinking of both students and professionals. In terms of what “attractive” employers offer, secure employment has become significantly more attractive and secure employment has also become a more important career goal for both students and professionals.

In 2012, 33% of students identified “to be secure and stable in my job” as one of their top three career goals, but this had increased to 41% in 2013 – a significant shift statistically. When asked whether they are concerned about their prospects of finding a job after graduation, 66% of students indicated that they are in fact concerned about finding a job.

“With the economy in South Africa facing so much uncertainty at the moment, talent at different stages in their career are seeking security and stability,” says employer branding consultant at Universum, Jenali Skuse. “We have seen that talent in South Africa, and students in particular, respond rapidly to occurrences in the broader economy. For example, the mining industry, in the past particularly attractive to engineering students has become less attractive as a direct result of the unrest on the mines and the associated instability.”

For business students, the majority of banks have increased in the rankings in 2013. “As job security and stability becomes more important to students, they are choosing companies and industries that are considered stable,” further explains Skuse.

Black students are the most concerned about their prospects, with 73% of black students saying they are concerned about their prospects of finding a job. Females are more concerned than males, with 69% of females saying they are concerned and 64% of males.

These fears may very well be justified based on the latest statistics released by Stats SA and published in BusinessDay which show that even with a tertiary degree“young women in South Africa are less likely to get a job and both are less likely than their parents to find work despite being better educated.” The survey also shows that the most likely to be employed is a young male with a tertiary education.

Students from MUT are the most concerned about the chances with 92% of students from MUT saying they are concerned about their prospects. UCT students are the least concerned, with only 57% saying they are concerned about their prospects.

Every year the annual rankings and associated trend reports are important indicators of the growth of certain sectors, young peopleÂ’s expectations for the future, and the changing face of South AfricaÂ’s professional landscape.

As Universum Managing Director for Africa Roger Manfredsson explains, “As goes the global economy so goes South Africa. This year in particular we have seen some real changes in the goals and aspirations of young people as they look more and more for qualities such as stability and innovation – be it in the financial, engineering or science sectors. The continued strength of major companies such as KPMG, SAB and Unilever attest to the importance of a strong brand amongst potential employees.”


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