South African employers report conservative hiring intentions for the coming quarter. Of the 751 employers who participated in the survey, 12% expect to increase staffing levels, 5% forecast a decrease and 81% anticipate no change.
Once the data has been seasonally adjusted, the resulting Net Employment Outlook is +7%. Hiring prospects are unchanged quarter-over-quarter and improve by 2 percentage points year-over-year.
Lyndy van den Barselaar, Managing Director of Manpower SA, provides insights into why South African employers are reporting cautiously optimistic hiring intentions for the April to June time frame:
“As global economic uncertainty continues, many businesses will be more cautious about increasing staffing levels. The majority of local employers said they anticipated no change in their staffing levels for the upcoming quarter, which is a reflection of this economic uncertainty translating into the local employment market,” she says.
Workforce gains are anticipated in all five regions during 2Q 2017. The strongest labour market is forecast in Western Cape, where employers report a Net Employment Outlook of +14%. Elsewhere, employers report cautiously optimistic Outlooks of +9% in both Free State and KwaZulu Natal, while Outlooks stand at +6% and +4% in Eastern Cape and Gauteng, respectively.
“The Western Capes economy is dominated by the City of Cape Town, which is an extremely popular tourist destination for local and international holiday makers. There is a strong push for development in the tourism sector, as was seen by government’s R100-million investment into building the Plettenberg Bay Airport road, the proposed completion of the N1 road coming into Cape Town, the R832 million expansion currently underway at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the building of the new Zeiss Museum of Contemporary Arts Africa at the V&A Waterfront, as well as the expansion and refurbishments of various new hotels in the city. The tourism sector is the largest employer in the region, employing more than 4000 people with the prospects of more jobs created as the sector continues to grow. This could definitely be a contributing factor to the positive employment outlook in the region,” explains van den Barselaar.
“While Gauteng remains the economic hub of South Africa, employers in the province have registered a conservative outlook of +4% for the second consecutive quarter. Initiatives around economic transformation by the Gauteng provincial government are aimed at stimulating key aspects of the market, which will create opportunities for further employment in the province in the coming quarters. These initiatives are focused on encouraging local manufacturing of goods, support for black-owned firms, and unlocking employment opportunities for all people across the province; as reported in the State of the Province address last month.”
Quarter-over-quarter, hiring intentions are 4 percentage points stronger in KwaZulu Natal and improve by 2 percentage points in Free State. Elsewhere, hiring prospects remain relatively stable in Eastern Cape and Western Cape, while Gauteng employers report no change.
Hiring plans improve by 9 percentage points in Free State and Western Cape when compared with the second quarter of 2016, while a slight increase of 2 percentage points is reported in KwaZulu Natal. However, Gauteng employers report a year-over-year decline of 2 percentage points.
Employers in all 10 industry sectors forecast an increase in payrolls during the upcoming quarter.
Transport, Storage & Communication sector employers report the strongest hiring intentions with a Net Employment Outlook of +15%, while Outlooks stand at +11% in both the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing sector and the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector.
Employers in the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector report cautiously optimistic hiring plans with an Outlook of +10%, while Outlooks of +9% are reported in both the Electricity, Gas & Water Supply sector and the Restaurants & Hotels sector. Meanwhile, the most cautious Outlook of +1% is reported by Mining & Quarrying sector employers.
“The current push for investment into improving existing and also building new infrastructure, especially that of roads, is a contributing factor to the expected growth in hiring in the Transport, Storage & Communication sector. Another possible contributing factor is the increase in service providers providing last mile Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and Fibre to the Business (FTTB), to support the growth of South Africa’s digital transformation and economy at large,” explains van den Barselaar.
Hiring prospects improve in six of the 10 industry sectors when compared with the previous quarter. The most noteworthy increase of 10 percentage points is reported by Transport, Storage & Communication sector employers, while Outlooks are 6 and 5 percentage points stronger for the Construction sector and the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector, respectively. However, hiring plans weaken in four sectors, including the Restaurants & Hotels sector with a decrease of 5 percentage points and the Electricity, Gas & Water Supply sector, where employers report a decline of 4 percentage points.
Year-over-year, Outlooks strengthen in five of the 10 industry sectors, most notably by 13 percentage points in the Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry & Fishing sector. Elsewhere, increases of 12 and 9 percentage points are reported in the Transport, Storage & Communication sector and the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector, respectively. Meanwhile, hiring prospects weaken in three sectors, including the Construction sector and the Mining & Quarrying sector, where employers report decreases of 4 percentage points.
Participating employers are categorized into one of four organization sizes: Micro businesses have less than 10 employees; Small businesses have 10-49 employees; Medium businesses have 50-249 employees; and Large businesses have 250 or more employees.
Staffing levels are expected to grow in all four organization size categories during 2Q 2017. Large employers report upbeat hiring prospects with a Net Employment Outlook of +18%, while Outlooks stand at +8% and +6% for Medium- and Micro-size employers, respectively. The most cautious Outlook of +3% is reported by Small employers.
Quarter-over-quarter, Micro employers report an improvement of 5 percentage points, but the Outlook for Small firms is 3 percentage points weaker. Elsewhere, Large employers report no change and the Outlook for Medium employers remains relatively stable.
Related: Finding Your Staffing Partner
When compared with this time a year ago, Outlooks improve by 6 percentage points for Micro employers and by 5 percentage points for Large employers, while Medium employers report an increase of 2 percentage points. Meanwhile, Small employers report relatively stable hiring plans.
Globally, second-quarter hiring confidence is strongest in Taiwan, Japan, Slovenia and India. The weakest forecasts are reported in Brazil, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. Hiring plans improve in 17 of 43 countries and territories when compared quarter-over-quarter, decline in 15, and are unchanged in 11. The year-over-year trend reveals a more pronounced uptick with Outlooks strengthening in 25 countries and territories, weakening in 14, and remaining unchanged in three.
Uber-like Insurance Platform Is Revolutionising The World Of Insurance Claims
the 4-Sure platform, which was launched two short years ago by actuary Shalen Moodley and a collective of seasoned tech gurus, is to provide value-added services that benefit the financial services industry. All partners had substantial success across Africa introducing loan origination platforms for leading banks before deciding to tackle the problems existing in the insurance claims fulfilment process.
A multi-sided, digitally-driven business platform that has been wholly-developed and launched in South Africa is ‘uberising’ the local short-term insurance industry by transforming the traditional claim fulfilment landscape.
Developed locally by Insuretech sensation 4-Sure and headed up by actuary-turned-entrepreneur Shalen Moodley, the 4-Sure platform seamlessly connects the claims ecosystem consisting of the customer, broker, insurer, service providers and suppliers and manages all complex interactions and sequencing required to deliver superb customer experience, optimal claim cost and fast turnaround times.
“The new system, which eliminates virtually all the manual processes and “waste work” involved in dealing with a claim, also provides enhanced opportunities for small businesses to compete for insurance claim work traditionally only available to a select few. Simultaneously, it reduces the fraud risks associated with the manual allocation of claims, and reduces costs across the board”, says Moodley.
“There are several weaknesses inherent in the appointment of the traditional insurance panels, “says Moodley. Relationships between the insurer’s agent and supplier base can result in some contractors being favoured above others. The payment of “incentives” by service providers as a reward for getting work can also skew the allocation process and drive massive cost inflations. Furthermore, costs can vary for similar jobs and the use of assessors for approval of routine jobs results in time delays and increased administration costs.”
“Most seriously for most insurers, is that contact with the customer is lost during the claim fulfilment process – they are disintermediated. Often, the result is dissatisfaction on the part of the customer, disrupted processes, unnecessary delays and often the possibility of an unhappy customer withdrawing their insurance and other investments with the associated brands of the insurer.
After extensive discussions with the industry regarding problems faced with settling claims, 4-Sure concluded that reformation of the system should be based on shorter, effective communication structures, the ‘democratisation’ of the panel system and the strategic use of technology to improve customer delivery and satisfaction levels.
The answer was the building of an entire ecosystem based on the use of sophisticated regressive algorithms that made the ‘Circle of Service’ between insurer and claimant transparent and frictionless. Creating an extensive database, making software available to service providers and connecting suppliers of raw materials as well as early payment mechanisms completed the service circle. As well as speeding up claim response times, the process was also efficient and fundamentally more effective.
Taking inspiration from the concept launched by the Uber transport system, the insurance platform includes a vastly increased list of qualified and rated service providers. As in the ride-sharing service, becoming listed requires that several stringent criteria are met by service providers. When a claim is registered – including the time when the customer requires assistance – it drops into the platform. Appropriate service providers listed can then respond and confirm their availability. They are then required to be on site at the time stipulated by the customer, undertake the work and then complete a Mobile App-driven reporting process for the insurer’s records (including before and after photographs, assessments and costings).
To participate in the platform a service provider must have a smartphone and the software, provided free by 4-Sure. Part of the package includes a service provider ‘scheduler’s’ desktop package that enables job scheduling, field technician allocation and all the information relating to the job to be collated and electronically submitted for payment to the insurer.
“For a sole trader or SME, one of the greatest challenges to building a sustainable business is controlling cash flow. Service providers on 4-Sure do not have to carry an extensive array of raw materials to fulfil allocated insurance claims work. Once they are on site, have assessed the repair work and had it approved within minutes, the service provider is able to visit a 4-Sure approved partner supplier (Builder’s Warehouse, Penny Pinchers, Buco, Plumblink and others) and pick up the required stock.
“They are then using their 4-Sure Mobile App to get the necessary materials and the outlet then bills the insurance company concerned directly through the 4-Sure software for the expenditure. Because of the volumes involved, we have been able to negotiate favourable prices for these services which are now on offer at more than 400 service points across the country. The service provider bills only for the time and labour spent on the job at the agreed rates. Their bills are then submitted using the 4-Sure software, go directly to the insurer and are generally settled within 24-48 hours.”
“As smaller operators are no longer waiting between 30 and 60 days for their money, they are happy to complete routine jobs for a set fee. Depending on the service they deliver and the ratings they receive, they are in control of just how much work comes their way. As a job is loaded on the system and service providers then bid for the work, competition is assured and opportunities for work are equal across the spectrum of service providers – a new paradigm which rewards performance with more work and manages the non-performers off the platform.”
Further value is added to service providers by free access to geo-positioning systems, which not only plots their way to their closest parts supplier but also to the customer’s property. Jobs that appear on their systems also cover the areas in which they choose to operate. As is the case with their Uber driver colleagues, those closest to the customer can make their presence known and compete for the work. Those who feel the costs of reaching the site do not make a job worthwhile simply do not respond to the job alert,” says Moodley.
For insurers, who can track the response times of service providers in real-time and contact them electronically if they are late on site, the major benefit is that the loss of customer contact at the point of handing over a claim to an incident manager no longer exists.
The typical flow of a job is made easier by:
- Insurers were able to use a sophisticated eco-system that is a centralised platform connecting all players in the supply chain, facilitating a seamless claims fulfilment process.
- Customer contacts their insurer via their contact centre, their website, or a digital self-service channel and this claim, is electronically dropped into the 4-Sure to facilitate the claim process automatically.
- A claim’s details being logged directly on the 4-Sure platform instead of being referred to an incident manager. The message enables specific skills, customer location, a time required for service and other factors to be selected so that it can be responded to by competing service providers.
Explains Moodley, co-founder of 4-Sure and one of the innovators behind the home-grown platform that caters specifically for local needs and is believed to be the leading services of its type anywhere in the world:
“4-Sure has succeeded in becoming the first, fully-digital insurance claims platform to provide a truly customer-centric experience. The system is flexible and although the present focus is on non-motor claims, other avenues, including motor insurance and non-insurance opportunities are being investigated and developed,” says Moodley.
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Off The Beaten Track
What Tourism Month means in South Africa and how Mango Airlines is focusing on local opportunities.
This September, being Tourism Month, we have so much to talk about in South Africa, and so many people to engage with, both domestically and abroad. We are privileged to be able to leverage a broad range of destinations – arguably world-class in nature, and they expand way beyond a beautiful mountain, and an ecosystem of game.
The vast majority of leisure tourists, however, remain attracted to the Mother City and various Safari destination, while business tourists tend to stick to hub cities for short durations of time before departing again.
“There is a golden opportunity to expand on the same offerings – while not detracting from them in any way. Our responsibility is to drive tourism into new areas, really emphasising the differentiators that are incredibly attractive to local and international tourists,” said Benediction Zubane, Head of Marketing at Mango Airlines.
“Often tourists visit one of the more well-known sites in an area, and are completely unaware of the other features and destinations close by. We’re seeing a lot of success in township tourism which goes to show how diversifying can really drive new tourism opportunities,” explained Zubane.
According to Statistics South Africa survey on Tourism and Migration, nearly 3.5 million international travellers visited South Africa in August 2017. Top numbers were tourists from USA, UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands, with African visitors primarily coming from SADC countries. Zubane added, “This means there is vast opportunity to begin engaging with travellers in new countries across the globe. We need to become our own best ambassador, talking-up our famous and lesser known destinations, proudly showcases our uniqueness. We should also be tourists in our own country and start exploring the wonders of the Rainbow Nation.”
Mango is passionate about helping its SMEs and entrepreneurial community to successfully overcome the unique challenges facing the tourism industry: “There has never been a more opportune time for small businesses and entrepreneurs to benefit positively from tourism in South Africa, and we hope to celebrate alongside our SME community as they fly high – both literally and figuratively,” he concludes.
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