Lonmin Employment Relations Management practice compared to the SABPP HR Management Standard on ERM.

Today, 16th  August 2016, we reflect on the Marikana Massacre exactly four years ago.  Many of the 1000 new SABPP members registering over the last year may not have seen our analysis, and it is also a good time for all of us to reflect on the significance of this event in this history of our country.

Please click here to view/download the SABPP analysis of the situation at Marikana.

To register as an HR Professional in accordance with the NQF Act, and to qualify as an Ex-officio Commissioner of Oaths please send an email to or visit


Women’s Day 2016: “When you strike a Woman, you strike a rock.”


Women’s Day 2016:
“When you strike a Woman, you strike a rock.”
by Lathasha Subban

“Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo, uza kufa! When you strike the women, you strike a rock, you will be crushed [you will die]!”

The song that became the anthem in celebrating Women’s Day. It echoed through the streets of Pretoria as 20 000 women of all races and ages, from all areas of South Africa marched towards the Union Buildings on the 9 August 1956. These brave women made history as they displayed the true spirit of sisterhood, as they protested against the proposed law at the time that would further restrict the movements of women. Four women led the way for all South African women born and unborn for generations to come.

The SABPP salutes Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Sophie Williams and Lilian Ngoyi. In 1956 South Africa produced powerful women that stood up for their rights and legacy, and today in the time of transformation, South Africa can smile proud as it’s women reach greatness in their lives.

1.jpgThe 1956 protest led by Rahima Moosa, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Sophie Williams.

It has been a long journey for women empowerment, transformation and pure equality for women to be recognised within South Africa and globally. Women’s Day is celebrated around the world and embraced by nations to show respect for women and their value in all areas of life. The South African Constitution Bill of Rights, section 9 clearly displays its support for equality that moved a country from biasness to democracy, but incorporating the promotion of women’s right to equality.


The SABPP has been very proactive in driving the transformation and development of women in the workplace by the publishing of the yearly Woman’s Report. The report differs year on year discussing research and areas of concern for women who juggle careers, family and the traditional expectations of being a woman. These reports are made available on the SABPP website ( to ensure that the HR profession manages the dynamics in women empowerment effectively. This initiative is a collaboration with Prof Anita Bosch, Research programme – Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg.

Anita Bosch“Though we have tremendous advances in the standing of women in South Africa, we need to take a step back and ask whether all women in our nation enjoys similar freedoms. And perhaps it is a time for sustainable activism to re-enter the national agenda.”
Prof Anita Bosch, Research programme – Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg.

Human Resources proves yet again to be a crucial piece of the puzzle that leads business in areas that relate to gender equality, women in leadership policies, policies (maternity leave and benefits), work life balance, wellness and the culture that embraces the transformation that includes women development and recruitment.  HR is the heart of supporting women in their careers and assisting them to grow their professions from strength to strength.

4Hillary Rodham Clinton

Today women leadership is more evident. We see powerful female forces that disrupt the areas of a male dominated society. The likes of Thuli Madonsela, Devi Sankaree Govender, Michelle Obama, Ferial Haffajee, Gill Marcus, Helen Zille, Wendy Ngoma, Precious Moloi-Motsepe (to name only but a few), who are changing the world and the environment for women empowerment in different professions.

download.jpg“As an African woman, I’ve learnt the importance of self-definition and living purposefully. It’s vital that every girl determines, as early as possible, who she is and what her contribution to humanity will be.”
South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela.

The 16th annual report of the Commission for Employment Equity reflects a continued slow pace of improvements in achieving equity which is still a major concern in democratic South Africa.  Calls for economic transformation assume a greater urgency when management control and employment advancement opportunities remain disproportionately favourable to White males.

The SABPP is encouraged to see this shift in the Commission’s strategy. The findings of the SABPP and UJ’s Womens Report 2015 that there is an enduring pay gap between male and female employees in South Africa support these comments. The SABPP’s 2015 Fact Sheet on Equal Pay Audits sets out a process which organisations can use to ensure that this type of pay discrimination, where not justified, is identified and corrected.


The slow pace of women moving into leadership positions is improving yet still a concern. Women have fought to move away from the restrictions placed on them through a patriarchal society into a more diverse and recognised one. HR is then again looked at to drive these changes within the business environment by implementing employment equity policies, gender sensitisation and women leadership development programmes. A game changer in supporting the increase of female talent within the workforce is by creating access to education through learnership and bursary programmes.

HR needs to create benefit and understanding through the policies that do not discriminate against women, and developing a culture that drives gender equality within the workplace. The issues of equal pay, maternity, family responsibility, promotions for women have to be driven by HR to further expand the philosophy that drives our democracy in South Africa.

As per the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index 2015, exhibited South Africa ranked 17 out of 145 countries. Looking closely at the opportunities and access women have to education and leadership positions, the investment in promoting women education and their freedom of rights, South Africa is doing well in these areas. In comparison to some countries that still restrict the rights of women and their movements, South Africa through its Constitution drives and recognises women empowerment and gender equality. The index report below clearly displays the areas of weakness and strengths that South Africa sustains.



“Apart from the importance of the election, so much more it is apt to women around the world. Recently the youngest Noble prize winner, a young girl, stood up for education – she took the future of many in her own hands. Women are seen as mothers, wives, career women, sisters, aunts, caretakers and so much more. We freely give of ourselves to everybody around us.”
Annetjie Moore: SABPP Head HR Audit

Women need to lead women. Women need to empower other women through programmes like mentoring, coaching and create communities that share experiences and lessons. South Africa has developed strong women in Government, private sector, across different professions that break the boundaries that defined the “traditional woman”. Women in South Africa are more empowered and have the platforms to voice their demands and be heard. It’s a voice that still carries the echo of the march by those 20 000 women in 1956. It reminds us of our progress over the last sixty years and how much we still need to do.

Women of South Africa, stand proud and live free for the world has recognised your strength. Celebrate Women’s Day not because it is recognised but because it is a day that celebrates your strength, victory and legacy. Happy National Women’s Day.

This article was written by Lathasha Subban, Head: Knowledge and Innovation of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP). For more information, you can follow SABPP on twitter @SABPP1 and Instagram @sabpp-1 or visit their website on

The 5th Annual SABPP Women’s Report will be released in August 2016.



Buyani Zwane

Buyani Zwane

Buyani Zwane is an inspirational speaker, network builder, strategist, student, educator and leadership development facilitator. He has been engaged in the Human Resources Management, Business and Leadership Development for over 25 years with local and international companies. He was co-owner for over 7 years, and served as executive chairperson at FranklinCovey Southern Africa for 5 years, a leadership, training and development company with a presence in 14 Southern African countries and Indian Ocean Islands. He is an accredited ADKAR Change Management Facilitator.

Buyani is dedicated to excellent service as director of Dynamic Leadership Solutions (Pty) Limited and Magnificent Mile (Pty) Limited, while leading Breakthrough Development (Pty) Limited, a Leadership Development and Business Consultancy company founded in 2000 as Chief Engagement Orchestrator (CEO).

He has served as Human Resources Executive and Director, as well as CEO in the oil & energy industry, financial services, business consulting, gaming and public sectors organisations.
Buyani is a part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) specialising in Leadership, Management, Change and Organisation Development, and Strategy Implementation while at Wits Business School he teaches on Leadership and Strategy Execution. He earned his MBA at GIBS with a focus on employee engagement and business strategy.

He is a member of the University of Cape Town’s Council where he chairs the Human Resources Committee of Council (UHRC) while also serving in the Council’s Selections and Remuneration Committees. He further serves as independent non-executive director and member of the Human Resources Committee of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), non-executive director and chairperson of the board of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, and is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI) and the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN).

Leading companies enter Year 4 of National HR Standards Journey: Are you part of South Africa’s HR Leaders?


Leading companies enter Year 4 of National HR Standards Journey: Are you part of South Africa’s HR Leaders?
by Marius Meyer

Consistent with the market reaction during the National HR Standards Roll-out during 2013 (phases 1 and 2), the development of phases 3-6 (2014-2016) of the National HR Standards Journey has once again exceeded all minimum requirements for stakeholder engagement and participation.  Just a reminder of the five phases:

  1. HR Management System Standard with its 13 standard elements (2013);
  2. HR Management System Application standards (2013);
  3. Development of HR Professional Practice Standards (2014) – that is specific professional practices such as on-boarding, recruitment and selection, learning needs analysis, dispute resolution, employee engagement, absenteeism management.
  4. Development of an HR Audit Framework to audit the standards (2014).
  5. Development of HR Metrics Framework (2015-2016).
  6. Launch of First Annual HR Standards and Audits Awards (2016).

Stakeholder participation in this process consists of five types of groups, i.e. the HR standards developers, the HR standards commentators, thirdly the HR Standards Conference delegates, the HR Auditors, and lastly in-house participants.  Some companies were so enthusiastic about these processes that they participated at all levels.


Over the last four years, more than 5000 HR professionals from almost 2000 companies have participated in either the development, further awareness, audits or roll-out of the National HR Standards throughout South Africa.  Here is a list of most companies involved:

1surance, Auditor-General, ABSA, Accsys, Adidas, Accenture, Ariston Global, African Copper Mining, AIDC, Alexander Forbes, Algoa Brick, Alos, Altech, Ampath, AMIHRP, Anglo American, Anglo Platinum, Anslow, AON, ARC, Avbob, ATNS, Aveng, Aranda, B&E International, BP, Barplats, Basil Read, Banking Association,  Barloworld, Bearing Man, BHP Billiton, Bidvest, Bloemwater, Bongani Rainmaker, Bothabile Holdings, Business Resource Development, Britehouse, Bruniquel & Associates, Business Results Group, BT Communications, Capfin, CBI Electric & African Cables, Emergence Growth, Chartered Wealth, Chibuluma Mines, CHIETA, China Construction Bank, Corobrik, City Lodge, City of Johannesburg, City of Ekurhuleni, City of Cape Town, City of Polokwane, Coca-Cola, Continental Coal, CSE, CSIR, Central University of Technology Free State, CIPD, Department of Agriculture, Forests & Fishery, Department of Public Service & Administration, De Beers, Deloitte, Denel,  Dyna Training, Distell, Eastern Cape Province – Department of Roads & Public Works, Department of Energy, DHL, Digby Wells, Dimension Data, DRD Gold, Dwarsrivier Chroom, Eastern Cape Development Corporation, Econet, EPI-Use, Edcon, Estee Lauder, ELB Engineering, Emergence Growth, Enviroserv, EOH, Engen, Exxaro,  Ethekweni Municipality,  Faircape, Fair Price, Fincor Leasing, Flow Centric, FNB, Forever Resorts, Foskor, Fraser Alexander, Fresenius Kabi, Financial Services Board, Grant Thornton, GFA, Gibb, Gibs Business School, Givaudan, Glencor Coal, Goodyear, Gauteng Partnership Fund, Gauteng Provincial Government, Group Five, Hatch Goba, H&E Creations, HR Touch, HSRC, Henley Business School, Hilton Worldwide, Heineken, Hollard, Health Systems Trust, ICAS,  Impala Platinum, IMPSA, Invest in Yourself, Insure Group, Interstate Bus Lines, IPMZ, Institute of Production Management, IPSOS, IV Storage, Isoworld South Africa, JCI, JDG Trading, JIC, Juta, JSE, Kalagadi Mangenese, KAP, Kaelo, Keypoint Consulting, Khethimpilo, Optimum Coal, KZN Office of the Premier, Labournet, LBM HR Labour Solutions, Lepelle Water, Liviero, Letseng Diamonds, LexisNexis, Liberty, Life Healthcare, Lancet, Liquor City, Law Society, MacDonalds Transport, Leisure Options, Mpact, MAN Truck, Marsh, Metropolitan, MCI, MMI, MMC, Metrorail, Milpark Education, Minopex, Mondi, Motlosana Medical, Mogale City, Momentum Retail, Morecorp, Motse-Motala, MrPrice, MTN, MGI, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Murray & Roberts, Media24, Merck,  Marsh, Massmart, Maccauvlei, National Ceramic Industries, National Brands, NCP Chlorchem SA, National Credit Regulator, NAMC, Nedbank, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, NGA Africa, North-West Development Corporation, Novo Nordisk, Ntshovelo Mining, NWK, Nafcoc, Netcare, Northam Platinum, North-West University, Eastern Cape Office of the Premier, Open Learning Group, Omnia Group, Otis, OVK, Oxfam, Pack & Stack, Paramount Advanced Technologies, Paramount Group, Penumbra Coal, Pick ‘n Pay, Pikitup, Platreef Resources, Premier Foods, Polyoak Business School, Post Office, Prasa, PHS, Primedia, Powertech Batteries, PT Operational Services, PwC, Public Service Association, QBit, Quest, RDL Consultants, Railway Safety Regulator, Rand Water, Redefine Properties, Regenesys Business School, Regent Insurance, Rand Refinery, Rendeals Four Consulting, Retail Solutions, Ricoh, Rio Tinto, Royal Bafokeng Platinum, Royal Swazi Sugar, Road Accident Fund,   Sun International, SA Bank Note Company, SABS, Safal Steel Group, Safintra, Safripol, SAICA, SALGA, ARM, Samancor Chrome, Sandvik, Sanlam, Sanral, Sanparks, Sappi, Sasol, SARA, SARS, Supersport, Scania, Servest, Shaft Sinkers, Sheriff Sandton, Simba, Spar, Spear, Storex South Africa, SA National Blood Service, Strategic Partners Group, Standard Bank, SABMiller, SANDF, Stefanutti Stocks, Strata Healthcare, Stellenbosch University, South African National Space Agency, Talent Factor, Telesure, Trans-Africa, Timken SA, Talent Africa, TCTA, Touch HR, Total Placement Solutions, Pnet, Total SA, TransHex, Transnet, The Human Resource Practice, Tsogo Sun, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Free State, University of Johannesburg, Umgeni Water, Umsinsi Health, Unique People Solutions, UNISA, Unversity of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, University of Venda, University of Zululand, University of Limpopo, University of Pretoria, Vision Four Trading, Voorspoed Mine, VKB, Vaal University of Technology, Walter Sisulu University, WBHO Construction, WCGRB, Webber Wentzel, Wits, Wynnbro, Yum Restaurants, Zanaco, Zenprop, Zurich Insurance, Setsotso Local Municipality, Digicore, Sishen Iron Ore, Martin Engineering, EY, USB-Ed, UBank, Wits Business School.

If your company is not on this list of HR Leaders as supporters of the National HR Standards, now is the time to rectify the situation.  Become part of the HR Standards Leaders by joining us on 27 and 28 July 2016 at the 4th Annual HR Standards Conference.

The launch of the world’s first National HR Auditing framework sparked further interest in 2014.  The auditing framework provides an assessment tool companies can use to conduct a self-assessment on their readiness for an external HR audit against the National HR Management System Standard to be conducted by SABPP.  Several companies have now been audited and a pool of 192 auditors have been trained for this purpose.

It is clear that more than a 5000 HR professionals were directly involved in the process of developing, consultation and auditing of South Africa’s first set of HR standards.  These organisations come from all industries and adequately represent the seven categories of stakeholders, i.e. private sector, public sector, parastatals, non-profit sector, HR consultants, HR learning providers and universities.  We want to thank the thousands of HR professionals for their enthusiastic support.  However, we want to keep on inviting newcomers to the process, and therefore the 4th Annual National HR Standards Conference on 27 July om Midrand is an ideal opportunity for those who have not yet been involved in the process to interact with the pioneers who have been active participants in the HR Standards journey since 2013.


Marius Meyer is CEO of SABPP.  They can be contacted on or on twitter @SABPP1.  For regular updates follow SABPP on twitter @SABPP1 or visit the blog  HR professionals and subject matter experts who are interested to participate in this historic project, are welcome to contact us on book a seat at the 4th  Annual National HR Standards Conference at Vodacom World in Midrand. The 1st Annual HR Standards and Awards will be issued (selected companies from the above list).   The full programme can be downloaded from


A tribute to the HR Audit Pioneers


A tribute to the HR Audit Pioneers
by Marius Meyer

Since the launch of the HR Audit Unit in 2014, SABPP has been overwhelmed by the positive feedback throughout South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Lesotho, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Canada, United States of America, Saudi Arabia and Namibia.  We are proud of our achievement in growing and sustaining the HR Audit unit for another year.  I want to share a tribute to the HR Audit pioneers – those individuals and organisations who did pioneering work in getting us this far on the HR Standards and Audit journey. While we do indeed celebrate our successes, we are still mindful of current challenges such as inconsistent HR practices at various organisations as well as gaps in HR capacity-building in several industries.  We also realise that the concept of HR Audits is still relatively new world-wide and that more awareness regarding HR standards and audits is needed to ensure the audits become the norm and do not remain the exception. That is exactly the reason why I want to pay tribute to the early adopters and champions – you are all change agents and pioneers in marching ahead in unchartered territory.

When SABPP launched the first set of National HR Standards for South Africa and indeed the world in 2013, the HR Standard journey has progressed, not only within companies but also nationally and internationally.  The purpose of the National HR Standard was to reduce inconsistencies in HR practice, and to improve the overall quality of HR practice within companies and at a national level.  The National HR Standards have become an overnight success and already expanded to several African countries.

The HR Audit unit provides an independent centre of excellence for HR audits against the standards.  This is the first such national HR Audit unit in the world, and we are indeed proud of its establishment, growth and early successes.

I want to thank the HR audit pioneers for their leadership, innovation, support, encouragement, inputs and persistence in assisting SABPP to ensure a successful second year of national HR audits in South Africa:

  • Our Interim Audit Heads – Christine Botha and Dr Shamila Singh for their sterling work in developing, managing and building up the audit unit, including training the auditors and overseeing the audits;
  • Malebo Maholo, HR Audit Officer of SABPP for co-ordinating the work of the Audit Unit;
  • The SABPP Board for their excellent leadership in steering, strategizing, governing and resourcing the audit unit;
  • The SABPP Audit Council that was launched in the beginning of 2016 to establish and entrench sound governance of HR Audits, in particular I want to thank the Chairperson, Maropeng Sebothoma and Vice-chairperson, Advocate Nomsa Wabanie-Mazibuko for their leadership of the Audit Council;
  • Dr Michael Robbins from International Management of Risk in the UK for his guidance and support during the pre-audit period;
  • Dr Wilson Wong, Head of Insights at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), and the CEO of CIPD, Peter Cheese in the UK for their ongoing support and encouragement;
  • Dr Penny Abbott, SABPP Head of Research for her pioneering work, including the first audit assessment tool that we continued to use during the second year of HR audits;
  • Dr Chris Andrews, HR Director at Bond University in Australia for his visit to SABPP, and his continuous support in providing strategic and professional input in positioning HR standards and audits as a means to improving HR practice;
  • The hundreds of HR Leaders and facilitators in both the private and public sectors for their support in building capacity among HR teams in HR standards;
  • The first group of CEOs and HR executives for putting up your hands to be audited during the last year, you were not only brave, but true business and HR leaders in taking full responsibility for the quality of your HR systems and fully deserve your certification against the HR standards;
  • We are very proud of our pool of HR auditors responsible for auditing companies, you are at the centre of the auditing process and world leaders as national HR auditors;
  • While we have visited most of the large audit firms over the last year, the auditing firm Grant Thornton has become an early audit firm leader in embracing the HR standards and audits;
  • A special word of thanks to the presidents and others leaders of HR bodies in other countries, in particular in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia for their continuous support in positioning the HR standards and audits as transformative interventions to improve HR in their countries. The Executive Director of the Institute of People Management of Zimbabwe, Fortunate Sekeso has been the best country HR standards and audits leader in our neighbouring countries;
  • A number of alliance partners have emerged as HR standards leaders. The Institute of Municipal HR Practitioners (IMPSA) and the Association of Mining Industry HR Professionals (AMIHRP) have been excellent HR standards alliance partners for several years. Likewise, we also want to thank the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors (IRBA) for the positive engagement over the last year;
  • Our publication designers and social media partner, BCore for always being ready to design and share HR standards and audits publications using different forms of media;
  • The first HR Standards and Audits Awards Committee was launched last month. This year, now that we have built up a good track record in HR standards and audits, the time is right to issue our first annual awards. Thank you to this new committee in being the adjudicators for the awards and congratulations to the first recipients of the awards to be announced on 27 July 2016;
  • Our academics and post graduate students at universities have been key stakeholders in supporting SABPP with research, teaching and development work.

Lastly, I want to encourage more HR executives to request HR audits.  Now is the time to show confidence and leadership in raising the bar for the HR profession and the quality of HR practices. The HR standard was developed to improve HR functions and systems, and by exposing yourself to HR Audits will provide confidence to executive committees and boards that HR’s house is in order.  I trust that the second annual report to be released at the 4th Annual HR Standards Conference in Midrand on 28 July will provide you with sufficient information to join the HR standards and audits journey.  Alternatively, we will gladly visit your company to present this report to your HR or Management Executive teams.

It was a privilege to work with so many HR professionals, auditors, auditees and other stakeholders over the last year around the HR standards and audits.  In essence, all participants are authors of this report, because without you there would be nothing to report on.  For daily updates, please follow us on twitter @SABPP1 and Instagram: SABPP_1. This National HR Standards and Audit Journey is an evolving process of elevating the HR profession, not only within companies, but also nationally, and in certain cases internationally. With the release of the King IV™ Report in 2016 and its increased focus on assurance of non-financial reporting, the HR Audits are well positioned to add value to integrated reporting and combined assurance processes.   I thank and pay tribute to all the pioneers and I appreciate you for being part of this developmental success story in advancing the HR profession in South Africa and beyond our borders.

Marius Meyer

Marius Meyer is CEO of SABPP. In 2014 he launched the world’s first National HR Audit Unit to audit organisations against the National HR Standards developed by SABPP. More information about the SABPP HR Standards is available on their website and their blog

  For daily updates on HR Standards and HR Audits, follow SABPP on Twitter @SABPP1 and Instagram sabpp_1


HR 2030: Launch of South Africa’s first labour market scenarios report


HR 2030: Launch of South Africa’s first labour market scenarios report
by Marius Meyer

The South African labour market has been criticised for various reasons over the last ten years.  The SA Board for People Practices (SABPP) therefore decided to work with top scenario planning guru, Clem Sunter in developing labour market scenarios for South Africa.  Adopting a strategic view in line with the aims of the National Development Plan (NDP), the labour market scenarios provide four possible routes for South Africa.  A group of 50 senior HR professionals, together with senior HR academics convened under the leadership of Clem Sunter to develop the four labour market scenarios.  In essence, the Labour Market 2030 Scenarios will provide us with a picture of HR in the year 2030.  The following is the result of the working group in March 2016:

A set of Rules of the Game and Key Uncertainties for the SA Labour Market emerged from the discussions:


The items identified in the figure above derive in large part from a “changing world of work”. The next section describes some of the features of this new world.

What do we mean by “the new world of work”?

However, a clear picture of possible labour market will be incomplete without taking consideration of the new world of work.  There are many publications on the nature of the new world of work and the drivers which will shape that new world.  Three of these are highlighted here to illustrate the general agreement on key features of that world of work.

In the 2010 book The 2020 Workplace[1] the authors identified three major drivers as follows:

[1] J.C. Meister & K. Willyerd. 2010. HarperCollins.

Three Forces.png

The UK’s Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD), in their 2013 publication “Megatrends – the trends shaping work and working lives”[1] identify important trends affecting the work itself, the workforce and the workplace  as below:

trends to now.png

The major shifts in the demand for well-educated people are illustrated in the 1997 book Workforce 2020 : Work and Workers in the 21st Century[1] which uses data from the United States.

[1] R. W. Judy & C d’Amico, 1997. Hudson Institute

The workforce place

Changes in the workplace since 1997 would most probably change the demand  percentages (the right hand column in the above figure) so that the 4 year college degree requirement would be higher.

Clearly, the supply situation in South Africa (the left hand column in the above figure) would be different.  The White Paper of the Department of Higher Education and Training[1] has set a target of 1.6 million students at university (from 937 000 in 2011) and 2.5 million students in TVET colleges by 2030 (from 345 000 in 2010 and estimated 650 000 in 2013). These figures represent 25% and 39% respectively.  Assuming a demand situation which is less knowledge intensive than the US, it can still be seen that the gap will be extremely high.

Research by the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment[2] has identified that new technologies are not creating many jobs; that technology has increased the range of tasks skilled workers can perform; that new “high touch” (as opposed to “high tech”) jobs are being created; and that many new personal service jobs are being created.

“With falling prices of computing, problem-solving skills are becoming relatively productive, explaining the substantial employment growth in occupations involving cognitive tasks where skilled labour has a comparative advantage, as well as the persistent increase in returns to education. The current trend is towards labour market polarisation, with growing employment in high-income cognitive jobs and low-income manual occupations, accompanied by a hollowing-out of middle-income routine jobs. However, our model predicts a truncation in the current trend towards labour market polarisation, with computerisation being principally confined to low-skill and low-wage occupations. Our findings thus imply that as technology races ahead, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerisation – i.e., tasks requiring creative and social intelligence. For workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills.”

[1] 2014.


The trends identified by the CIPD imply that employees in the future will be (even) more pressurised and the workplace climate will be less supportive.

More positive qualitative aspects of the future world of work are identified by Meister and Willyerd in 2010 as below. Some of these factors are already evident in South African workplaces, whilst others are possibly less likely to emerge.

1.       You will be hired and promoted based upon your reputational capital.
2.       Your mobile device will be your office.
3.       Recruiting will be done on social networking sites.
4.       Web commuters will force corporate offices to reinvent themselves.
5.       Companies will hire entire teams.
6.       Job requirements for CEOs will include blogging.
7.       Your corporate curriculum will use video games, simulations and other reality games as key modes of delivery.
8.       The world will be networked and you will need a networked mindset.
9.       Outsourcing will be replaced by crowdsourcing.
10.    Corporate social networks will flourish and grow inside companies.
11.    You will elect your leader.
12.    Work-life flexibility will replace work-life balance.
13.    Corporate social responsibility will be a key business driver and used to attract
14.    Diversity will be a business imperative.
15.    The lines between marketing, communication and learning will blur.
16.    Social media literacy will be required for all employees.
17.    Building a portfolio of contract jobs will be the path to obtaining full-time employment.
18.    Corporate app stores will offer ways to manage work and personal life better.

These aspects apply more to knowledge workers than other workers, for whom the new world of work could be less attractive if it is characterised also by a lack of job security and fluctuating incomes.

Whilst the actual work and workplace will change, as outlined above, the nature of the workforce itself will change, as the CIPD points out.  Popular descriptions of the attributes of the so-called “millennials” concentrate on their values (civic-minded, family-focused, favour lifestyle and experience over money and prestige) and wants (being able to express themselves, constant challenge) as well as their education level.  However, one aspect not often covered is their financial situation – as the result of their higher education level, millennials often start their careers carrying debt from their student days. They also face a shortage of jobs and as a result, their ability to save and buy their homes is very constrained. They are used to cheap credit. They understand that their financial long-term future is uncertain, especially as governments will be unable to fund their retirement. Hence there is often a preference to spend today rather than save for tomorrow.

Additional material on the future world of work will be sourced, developed and published by the SABPP over the coming periods.

The National Development Plan

Policy goals of the National Development plan are to:

  • Maintain fiscal discipline and macro-economic stability;
  • Achieve sustained GDP growth of 5.4%;
  • Reduce unemployment to 14% by 2020 and to 6% by 2030;
  • Overhaul the civil service to improve efficiency and implementation;
  • Promote market competitiveness;
  • Reduce the cost of living;
  • Reduce impediments to investment;
  • Create jobs via entrepreneurship and reduced regulation as well as a public works programme.

The “new world of work” trends outline above will challenge the achievement of these goals considerably, demonstrating that some creative solutions will need to be found by all stakeholders. Against the backdrop of the above discussion on the new world of work, four labour market scenarios were developed for South Africa.  These scenarios will be launched at the 4th Annual HR Standards Conference of SABPP on 28 July 2016 at Vodacom World in Midrand.  I want to thank all the HR leaders for the inputs into the Labour Market 2030 Scenarios Report.  I am proud to launch the outcome of the working group and I trust that the document will be used as a key framework for increased levels of stakeholder engagement in considering clear options for labour market reform.


Marius Meyer is CEO of SABPP. In 2014 he launched the world’s first National HR Audit Unit to audit organisations against the National HR Standards developed by SABPP. More information about the SABPP HR Standards is available on their website and their blog

  For daily updates on HR Standards and HR Audits, follow SABPP on Twitter @SABPP1 and Instagram sabpp_1