/ 4 August 2011

Equity commision: Whites still rule top management

Whites still occupy 73.1% of top management positions in the country, the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) said on Wednesday.

Black people made up 12.7% of top management, Indians 6.8% and coloureds 4.6%, the CEE said in its 11th annual report released in Pretoria.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said she was disappointed at the slow pace of reform at top management.

“We really have to take drastic measures to deal with the situation,” she said.

The CEE said its findings were based on 16 698 reports submitted by companies with 150 or more employees, and covered 5 280 037 employees.

Inverse proportionality
Companies with less than 150 employees were not required to submit reports.

The CEE said that although whites made up 73.1% of top management, they made up only 12.1% of the economically active population.

Blacks made up 73.6% of that population, with 12.7% in top management.

In 2006, blacks had constituted 11.3% of top management and whites 74.9%.

At senior management level whites still dominated, holding 64.1% of those positions, the CEE said.

Not enough change
Africans occupied 17.6% of senior management positions, coloured 7% and Indians 9%.

The number of whites in senior management positions had dropped 6.8% since 2006, while the number of black people had increased by 4.2%, Indians by 1.4% and coloureds by 1.2%.

According to the report, whites in top management were least dominant in the community, social and personal services sector where they occupied 52.4% of top management positions.

In the retail and motor trade sectors, whites occupied 81.8% of top management positions.

CEE chairperson Mpho Nkelo said that at the current rate of change it would take 127 years before the racial break-down in top management was representative of the racial breakdown of the total economically active population.

“We don’t see as much change as we would like to see,” she said.

Taking transformation seriously
While many of the whites in top management positions were nearing retirement, there did not appear to be a move to recruit black people into these positions, said Nkelo.

There had been a 13.7% increase in black employees at a professional level since 2006, and a 14.5% reduction in skilled white employees.

There had been an 11.8% increase in black employees at a skilled or technical level, and an 11.8% decrease in white employees.

The Black Management Forum (BMF) found the report disappointing, said its managing director Nomhle Nkumbi-Ndopu.

“This report confirms what we have been saying about business in South Africa. Business is not serious about transformation,” she said.

The report further justified the BMF’s decision to part ways with Business Unity South Africa, she said. — Sapa