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.
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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.
Use The December Shutdown Period To Do Just That: Shut Down
by Greg Morris, CEO, Sebata Holdings
Most businesses – retail and entertainment excluded – resemble ghost towns during the first and last weeks of the year. Energy levels are low in December, and employees daydream about cocktails on the beach. Come January, it takes a few days to get back into the swing of things. Before we know it, South Africa takes another extended holiday in April.
We’re accused of having a “holiday culture” in South Africa. That’s a fair comment. We get 12 public holidays a year, which is more than most countries. And many people use their annual leave strategically in April and December to maximise their time off. As a result, we only really work for 10 months of the year, while other countries work for 11 months.
There’s no doubt that public holidays affect the economy. One extra public holiday in 2011 resulted in an estimated R7 billion loss in turnover. But there’s also a lot to be said for taking time off. And when we know the holidays are coming, we can prepare for them, so employees make the most of their downtime and start the new year on a strong footing.
Burnout is not good for business…
Productivity and motivation are like fuel tanks. While driving, the fuel dries up. At some point, we need to fill up, otherwise we’ll break down. People are the same; we can’t run on empty. Weekends are one thing, but in our culture of always-connected busyness, we don’t get a chance to recharge over weekends. That’s why we need the longer break in December.
A Pulse Institute study found that, when employees are not rested, they experience:
- 23% reduced concentration
- 18% reduced memory function
- 9% increased difficulty in performing tasks
Fatigue-related productivity losses amount to R26,000 per employee per year. Sleeplessness can also result in mistakes and increased absenteeism, accidents, or injury.
Well-rested employees, however, are happier and more creative, engaged, and productive. They get more done in less time than their sleep-deprived, low-energy colleagues.
… but if you’re going to burn the midnight oil…
Businesses often think of December as a slow period that will harm the bottom line. Yes, it can be disruptive and there will be financial impacts. But if you’re going to keep the doors open til the end, this is the perfect time for internal housekeeping. Even the most efficient and streamlined businesses can improve some internal projects or processes.
Allow teams to be inwardly focused during this time, so that you start the new year with less to worry about. Whether that’s planning for 2019, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t in 2018, cleaning up databases, servicing air cons and office machines, connecting with customers over coffee, updating your website, or creating new marketing campaigns, employees can achieve a lot when they’re not focused on the day-to-day grind.
Our best ideas come to us when we’re relaxed and not thinking about them. (If you’ve ever scrawled on the steamed-up shower door, you’ve experienced downtime creativity.)
Make the most of skeleton staff time in December. Host fun creativity sessions that have nothing to do with work. Pay for your people to complete short online courses that will give them skills and motivation boosts. When they do go on holiday, perhaps their new knowledge will result in a major ‘a-ha moment’ around the family braai.
My best advice for businesses that are shutting down in a few weeks is this: shut down. Since the business is not generating income, everything that’s left running – that one employee watching the phone that never rings; that one light left on – hurts the bottom line.
Encourage teams to disconnect. Don’t expect them to answer mails and don’t contact them about work while they’re on holiday – unless it’s an emergency. Block access to mails if you have to, Volkswagen style. Give your people time to think, reflect, and sleep.
When we respect employees’ time and give them freedom to work when they’re most productive, we develop motivated, positive workforces who are enthusiastic about achieving the business’s goals. They work harder to get the job done and, in our experience, actually finish projects ahead of deadline because they want to be able to switch off and go fishing.
Downtime is often seen as wasted time. We don’t take breaks, we eat lunch at our desks, and we work when we’re sick and should be at home. But working longer hours doesn’t mean that we’ll get more done. In fact, it can be enormously counter-productive.
Neuroscientist David Levitin cautions against the “false break”, when we feel guilty for taking time off and compulsively check emails. Napping, daydreaming, and “taking true vacations without work”, he says, is biologically restorative and essential for rebooting cognitive energy. So, if you’re going to shut down, do it properly. The same business challenges will be there when you get back. But you could solve some of them while you’re sleeping.
Seasonal SMEs: Don’t Spend Your Extra Cash All At Once
Save a portion of festive season profits for an emergency fund.
The festive season is a time when many seasonal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) reap the rewards of increased consumer spending, such as additional sales and accommodation bookings from the influx of holiday makers and festive season shoppers. This spike in earnings offers the ideal opportunity for these businesses to save some of the extra money that they make for an emergency fund.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that a major risk faced by many businesses is their vulnerability to an unexpected financially-draining mishap such as a big client loss, a lawsuit, or any accident that is not covered by insurance.
“Despite this, few SME owners have an emergency fund in place to deal with such unforeseen events,” he says.
“This is understandable since a growing business tends to require a lot of cash to move forward. Another likely reason for this is because most SME owners are more focused on the immediate practicalities of building their business, rather than on vague risk assessments and planning. By nature, entrepreneurs also tend to be chronically optimistic about the future good luck of their business,” adds Lang.
“However, considering South Africa’s underperforming economy and rising consumer price inflation, it is essential that all SME owners save for a rainy day. Those that have boosted seasonal business have an advantage and should capitalise on this by putting aside a portion of their seasonal profits,” he explains.
Related: 5 Small Business Money-Saving Myths
When saving towards an emergency fund, it is key to set a goal, Lang points out. “A good rule of thumb is to have three to six months’ worth of overheads set aside, but even just one month’s expenses are better than nothing.”
The next step is to decide what constitutes an emergency, he says. “If an emergency fund can be dipped into every time you want to avoid an awkward phone call to the landlord to say that the rent will be slightly late this month, it won’t last long. A true emergency is one that threatens the survival of the business.”
With this in mind, thinking through and writing down a list of possible emergencies that would justify the use of the fund is a good risk-assessment exercise for any business, suggests Lang.
Finally, some thought needs to be given to where an emergency fund should be kept, he says.
“Gambling with the money on the stock exchange defeats the purpose. A money-market account is a better option, but it may be worth considering an account where the funds aren’t too easily accessible, so there’s no temptation to dip into it on a whim. On the other hand, it should not be so inaccessible that you cannot access it fairly soon when an emergency does strike.”
As such, Lang recommends a set of notice deposit accounts with varying notice periods so that a limited amount can be accessed immediately, and some a little later, which allows for some interest to accrue while the money, hopefully, will not be used any time soon.
“However, ultimately the will on the part of the business owner to attain these savings is critically important. The cash demands in a business are so constant that any vague or half-hearted attempt to establish an emergency fund will fail. It will have to be a conscious and disciplined effort by the business owner,” Lang concludes.
Documentary Filmmaking As A Career Is On The Up In South Africa
The Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival will offer a free Filmmakers’ Masterclass this Wednesday, 5 December to boost several initiatives to position Cape Town as a key film destination and location.
Wavescape Filmmakers Masterclass
- Date: 5th December 2018
- Time: 6:00pm for 6:30pm
- Venue: Invest SA One Stop Shop, Western Cape
- Address: Cape Sun Corner, 46 St. George’s Mall, Cape Town
- Parking: Picbel Parkade, 58 Strand Street, Cape Town Centre (For own account)
The Masterclass, which is presented by Wesgro and aimed at aspiring filmmakers, producers, film students and those in the film industry, will focus on what it takes secure funding, produce and distribute a documentary film.
The documentary genre has seen a resurgence in popularity, owing in part to increased accessibility via the growth of Video On Demand platforms like Netflix, and an audience response to ‘Block-buster fatigue’ which has seen renewed interest in the documentary format and meaningful stories that reflect the nature and reality of our present lives.
The recent launch of F/LM Cape Town – a joint initiative between the City of Cape Town and the local film industry to promote the City’s amazing locations, diverse talent and world-class infrastructure – solidifies Cape Town as a world-class centre for filmmaking.
Besides its raw natural beauty, the city is rich in culture, diversity and heritage, which offers filmmakers an abundance of content. Curator of the Wavescape Masterclass Christopher Mason, who is co-director of Mason Brothers’ Films, said that you were halfway there if you had a good concept: “These days anyone with a unique idea, a DSLR camera and a laptop, and enough desire can be a filmmaker. The trick, of course, is understanding how to get your foot in the door in a very competitive industry.”
“What makes a good documentary and how does one become a good documentary filmmaker? How has the genre evolved and what are the possibilities for young South Africans interested in the genre? The Masterclass aims to give aspiring filmmakers the answers to these and other questions,” Mason said.
From developing a good idea into an award-winning film; to funding and distribution models; and case studies on the best this genre has to offer, this year’s masterclass aims to provide filmmakers with an immersive roadmap to success.
Steve Pike, co-founder of the Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival said that the platform laid by F/LM Cape Town and initiatives such as the Wavescape Masterclass could help boost the already booming film industry, and thus reduce the 27.5% of South Africans who remain unemployed. The Wavescape festival, and in particular the Masterclass spoke directly to the F/LM initiative, Pike said.
“Cape Town has it all: Amazing scenery and epic locations for adventure sport. Our festival is a key platform to showcase Cape Town as the Adventure Capital of the World while also celebrating the wild ocean and raw beauty around us.”
The CEO of Wesgro, Tim Harris, said that in the 2017/18 financial year, Wesgro’s Film and Media Promotion Unit “managed to secure nine declarations to creating 2,499 full time equivalent jobs – this shows the potential for job creation in this sector”.
“There are many job opportunities in the film and media industry due to the breadth and depth of skills required across the value chain of this fourth industrial revolutionary industry,” he said, also highlighting massive potential for the cutting edge gaming industry.
Several top speakers will talk at the Masterclass, including Jolynn Minnaar, an acclaimed documentary director; Cliff Bestall, who made16th Man for ESPN 30 for 30 (produced by Morgan Freeman); Karen Slater, a Director / DOP in Sisters of the Wilderness that is eligible for an Oscar; Khalid Shamis, editor of Strike A Rock; Liezel Vermeulen, producer and film finance expert; Izzette Mostert from the Documentary Filmmakers Association; and Monica Rorvik, Head of Wesgro Film and Media Promotion Unit.
Parking at Picbel Parkade, 58 Strand Street, Cape Town (For own account), refreshments will be served.
Please visit http://www.wavescapefestival.com/wesgro-blue-ocean-master-class/ for more information.
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