Time to don board­room danc­ing shoes

Glob­ally, 20m jobs have been lost in China, 10m in In­dia and more than 4m in the US

Finweek English Edition - - Openers -

TH­ESE ARE scary times, es­pe­cially for in­di­vid­u­als anx­ious to hold on to their jobs. The gravy train days are over and com­pa­nies are trim­ming any ex­cess fat. As house­hold debt com­prises ap­prox­i­mately 75% of con­sumers’ per­sonal bal­ance sheets, job losses pose a very real threat. With gross do­mes­tic prod­uct ex­pected to be only 1% this year, the cur­rent busi­ness fo­cus is on cost-cut­ting ini­tia­tives, ex­pan­sion cut­backs and, in many in­stances, re­trench­ments. The ef­fect of the global eco­nomic cri­sis is far-reach­ing – and South Africa isn’t ex­cluded.

What does all the doom and gloom mean for in­di­vid­u­als want­ing to keep their jobs? Kelly Group CE Grenville Wil­son says in un­cer­tain eco­nomic pe­ri­ods the trend his­tor­i­cally is a higher de­mand for flex­i­ble staffing so­lu­tions (see sep­a­rate re­port). Wil­son says highly skilled in­di­vid­u­als will al­ways be mar­ketable but are re­luc­tant to move in an un­cer­tain mar­ket.

“It’s mostly un­skilled labour, un­em­ployed grad­u­ates and those in­di­vid­u­als who don’t have a lot of work ex­pe­ri­ence who are feel­ing the most in­se­cure – and, of course, ma­tric­u­lants are strug­gling to en­ter the job mar­ket.” Wil­son adds that com­pa­nies are ap­ply­ing cau­tion to the re­cruit­ment of ju­nior and mid­dle man­age­ment po­si­tions but that de­mand for se­nior man­agers, ex­ec­u­tives and other highly skilled in­di­vid­u­als has re­mained largely un­changed (with the ex­clu­sion of the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor). While there’s been no ob­vi­ous ev­i­dence of down­ward pres­sure on re­mu­ner­a­tion pack­ages, Wil­son says there have been iso­lated cases of some se­nior salary bands for­feit­ing an­nual in­creases and some com­pa­nies de­lay­ing an­nual per­for­mance re­views.

Wil­son says SA’s bank­ing and min­ing in­dus­tries have been hard hit and con­tinue to ap­ply head­count freezes, in ad­di­tion to which in­dus­tries (such as man­u­fac­tur­ing) ex­posed to ex­ports

Lon­don no longer at­trac­tive. Chris van Melle Kamp Un­cer­tain mar­ket. Grenville Wil­son

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