Sibongile Ma­baleka, 35 HR ad­min­is­tra­tor

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - HUSTLE -

‘My ini­tial stud­ies had noth­ing to do with where I am now: I stud­ied at UCT as a mu­si­cian, and then got my dance teach­ing di­ploma.

Af­ter I grad­u­ated in 2003, I trav­elled for three years as a dancer. I went ev­ery­where, from Thai­land and China to Switzer­land and Lon­don.

‘I’d had my first child at 19, but I still man­aged to travel for my dancing. But at 23, I got mar­ried and had my sec­ond child – time to set­tle down! I started work­ing in fi­nance for San­lam, but even­tu­ally my con­tract there came to an end. That’s when I started in HR, about two and a half years ago.

‘My day-to-day in­volves cre­at­ing job de­scrip­tions, fill­ing va­can­cies, draft­ing em­ploy­ment con­tracts and ad­min­is­ter­ing things like pay­roll and leave. I’m also in­volved in ad­vis­ing staff on their ben­e­fits – med­i­cal aid, sav­ings, pen­sions. This is my favourite part of my job: help­ing em­ploy­ees make good fi­nan­cial choices with the ben­e­fits of­fered by our com­pany.’

How key is salary?

‘It’s very im­por­tant. Firstly, you need to be able to cover your key costs. But also, how much you earn is im­por­tant to how val­ued and recog­nised you feel by your com­pany. Many of us have worked hard to get into our po­si­tions; we’ve stud­ied and gained ex­pe­ri­ence. So it’s key to feel fairly com­pen­sated for all of that.’

Why do we need to talk money more?

‘So many peo­ple are ac­tively told not to dis­cuss salaries by their com­pany be­cause the com­pany knows how much dis­crep­ancy in pay there is among its em­ploy­ees. And knowl­edge is power!

‘The more you talk, the more you know, the more you can con­trol what you earn. You need to be able to talk about your salary be­cause it’s a means of em­pow­er­ing your­self. Even if that just means feel­ing com­fort­able about ap­proach­ing your man­ager about a raise, which most peo­ple find nerve-wrack­ing – that’s pow­er­ful! Com­pa­nies are very un­likely to reach out to you to dis­cuss a raise or pro­mo­tion, so you have to be will­ing to ini­ti­ate and drive those con­ver­sa­tions your­self.’

Money MO

‘Sav­ing to­wards a pension from your very first pay­cheque is key. It’s one of the most im­por­tant things I ad­vise em­ploy­ees about. Peo­ple of­ten don’t think about where their in­come will come from in 30 or 40 years’ time, but the sooner you start sav­ing to­wards this, the eas­ier it is.

‘You also need a five-year plan for your ca­reer and in­come. Set goals so you can bench­mark your­self and achieve growth.’

R25 000

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