2016 kicked off with a few unfortunate racist incidents highlighting that while South Africa has made progress in the past 22 years, issues of racial inequality are still prevalent and our rainbow nation requires a collaborative effort to keep shining. From a racial point of view, Cape Town is additionally challenged with our apartheid spatial legacy and a demographic which is not reflective of the rest of South Africa. The 2011 Census highlighted this when looking at the percentage of population for South Africa and Cape Town as follows:
For business in Cape Town and Accelerate Cape Town’s members, talent attraction and retention remains a key issue. The findings from a recent Accelerate Cape Town survey shows that HR professionals’ greatest recruitment challenge is the lack of availability of BEE candidates. To support this challenge and create networks for young professionals to feel part of Cape Town’s business community, Accelerate Cape Town has embarked on a number of initiatives as part of our Human Capital Programme. These include:
- Inspiration Sessions: these large cocktail style engagements, sponsored by Allan Gray, include an inspirational speaker such as Thuli Madonsela and Prof Jonathan Jansen. To maximise networking opportunities for young professionals, these sessions are not limited to our member companies. David Machine, Senior Business Intelligence Developer, formerly at Media24 commented: ‘I must admit that these sessions have really made a positive impact in the way l do my work. It is wonderful what has happened to me during this year being part of this group and attending these sessions.’
- Young Leaders Dinners: introduced in 2015, these engagements provide a smaller facilitated networking environment where young professionals can debate issues such as transformation and career progression. When specifically asked about transformation in the work place and what impacts most positively, our young professionals feel that it’s the company culture and the attitude from the top. What is impacting negatively is the feeling that because of BEE they are not valued for their ability. Mpendulo Ngwenya, Senior Systems Analyst at Allan Gray said: ‘The Young Leaders Dinner was enlightening. We need more organisations like Accelerate Cape Town to provide a platform for future leaders to discuss issues and hopefully map a better future for us all.’
- New Initiatives: to further support our members’ Human Capital Programmes, Accelerate Cape Town will be launching a Welcome to Cape Town initiative for new staff who have relocated to Cape Town, and an HR Forum Workshop for cross-sector engagement of HR professionals. We are also speaking to our four universities, CHEC and corporates on the work-readiness of graduates.
Our collective responsibility as business, government and the tertiary sector should be to support and develop the skills required to grow our economy. As such Accelerate Cape Town encourages all corporates to create interactions to break down cultural stereotypes and barriers in the workplace. We also challenge all Capetonians to ensure that #RacismStopsWithMe by challenging your own views and any racist attitudes of people around you.