White people still dominate top management jobs in South Africa and there is an emerging concern about the level of professional, management and unskilled jobs held by foreigners the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) has noted in its latest annual report.
Minister of Labour and Employment Thembelani Nxesi released the CEE’s 2020/21 annual report, that highlights the progress the country has made in transforming the workplace, at a media briefing on Friday. The report gives a reflection of key data and employment trends analysed based on the Employment Equity reports submitted by employers between 2018 and 2020.
According to the annual report the levels of employment equity of different designated groups and the CEE’s concerns regarding transformation were follows:
The White population group representation although slowly declining, continues to dominate at this occupational level. However, proportionally in terms of the respective economically active population (EAP) Indians benefitted the most from this decline. Female representation remained below 25% with white and Indian female representation remaining much higher than their EAP.
The high representation of foreign nationals, particularly in the private sector is also noted at this occupational level. It is also evident that the white population group is dominant in the private sector across all provinces at this occupational
level. A large portion of the opportunities, such as in recruitment and promotion continue to accrue to white which remains a concern to the CEE.
There is an increasing trend of African and Indian population groups at the Senior Management level. The Indian representation seems to increase significantly although their representation is already above their EAP. A marginal increase of females was noted. There was a gradual decrease in representation of the w white population group at this occupational level but most opportunities still favour them. A significant proportion of senior management positions are also held by foreign nationals, particularly in the private sector.
The CEE noted that only the African population group (46.7%) remained under-represented at this level. White and Indian population groups are the only two population groups that are above their EAP and still benefitting the most from opportunities. The high level of foreign nationals represented at this level raises the question as to whether sufficient skills are not available in the country and whether legislation governing migrant labour is implemented properly.
The CEE noted a positive move towards equitable representation across all population groups and gender in relation to the EAP distribution at this level. The CEE is concerned about the trend of employing a large number of foreign nationals, even at the lower occupational levels, which may be contrary to employment legislation seeking to govern migrant labour and employment regulations, such as skills transfer programmes.
The representation of the African and Coloured population groups are approximately their EAP, while the White population group is grossly-under-represented at this level. This picture is a reflection of the historical
imbalances of the past, where both the African and coloured population groups have dominated this level of the South African workforce. The representation of foreign nationals at around 2% at this level is relatively high considering that this level is an entry level for semi-skilled workers in a country with a high rate of unemployment.
Both the African and Coloured population groups are over-represented when compared to their EAP at this level. Indian and white population groups are under-represented. A high representation of Foreign
Nationals at more than 3% in the past three years is noted with concern given the fact that this is the entry level of employment considering the high rate of unemployment and the reported available pool of unskilled labour in South Africa.
The representation of persons with disabilities in the total workforce reported on has insignificantly increased from 1% in 2018 to 1,3% in 2020. It is evident that over 23 years since the inception of the Employment Equity Act, the plight of persons with disabilities to be provided with equal opportunities to access employment has not yielded positive results. This is disconcerting to the CEE.