SA Skills Shortage – Are Quota Work Permits the Answer?

Although the government has put in place measures which, if effectively implemented, are expected to alleviate these challenges in years to come, local businesses are continue to suffer from a lack of qualified expertise in key growth areas such as mining, construction and financial management.

In order to alleviate these challenges, many organisations are turning to executive recruitment specialists such as Pollock & Associates as a means towards identifying potential candidates.

Although agencies of this nature have succeeded in connecting prospective employers with the right individuals, a preference for equity candidates has added a challenging element to the task, says Caz Pollock – Pollock & Associates Chief Executive Officer.

“There is certainly a marked preference for BBBEE individuals in key growth areas. Naturally, organisations wish to promote positive change within South Africa and actively seek out candidates within previously disadvantaged groups as a means to do so”.

“South Africa’s current challenge lies within the fact that we continue to experience a shortage of skilled personnel in these areas. For example, although there is a huge demand for black female engineering and financial candidates, there are simply not enough qualified individuals to fill these posts”.

“Unfortunately, due to BBBEE, organisations are reluctant to employ candidates with scarce skill quota work permit as they cannot be included as part of Equity stats” adds Pollock.

“By opening posts up to candidates with quota work permits, South Africa may be able to alleviate the immediate skills shortage that it is currently experiencing. In this way, we can up skill junior BBBEE candidates via mentorship programmes while fulfilling current need”.

“A more long-term resolution could incorporate international candidates and retired individuals as mentors to rising South African stars in key areas. By pooling the resources that we currently have at our disposal, we could certainly begin to reduce immediate demand while making way for future growth”.

Furthermore, organisations which are able to make contact with South African candidates should avoid paying excessive premiums which are not market related.

“Equity CA(SA) candidates currently command significant salary packages due to the scarcity of this skill set. Although this behaviour may solve the immediate challenge of attracting skilled individuals to a business, it will also encourage the wrong expectations in a future where South African Chartered Accountants are more widely available” concludes Pollock.

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