Top issues for people with HR jobs in South Africa
2011: The year ahead
This year has already turned out to be a busy year for HR jobs in South Africa. There are many issues in the workplace that have had nation wide consequences for all employees and potential employees in South Africa. Labour unions have put a lot of pressure on salaries and other issues that have included strikes in various sectors throughout the country.
Last year the South African transport workers union almost brought the continent’s largest economy to a standstill. The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) are at it again, now they demanded a 20 percent wage increase over the next two years from the trucking industry’s Road Freight Association. South Africa’s workers unions have enjoyed rising clout in recent years, serving as a crucial member of the ruling alliance alongside the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party.
Economists have warned that repeated wage hikes risk aggravating inflation and this helps to push up the cost of basic goods. At the same time, ignoring union demands here threatens to create instability in a country that remains one of the safest bases for business in sub-Saharan Africa.
Protracted labour disputes feature as one of the major risks to supply chains, and are 2.5 times higher than the world average, a study by Imperial Logistics and the Association for Operations Management of Southern Africa found.
Marius Swanepoel, CEO of Imperial Logistics, said: “We acknowledge that strike action is a fundamental right within the South African regulatory context. It is also important, however, to consider the negative impact that protracted labour negotiations have on South Africa’s economic performance.”
Issues like these are set to continue and people in HR jobs seem to be set for a long year ahead. According to various recruitment firms and news reports, the biggest priority for many industries will be to overcome the skills shortages that threaten South Africa. A shortage in talent in many specialist areas is the biggest threat to growth within the country. Therefore the ability to overcome skills shortages in various sectors will become the defining characteristic of the employment market in 2011.