Corporations in South Africa will play an important role in the country’s transformation. In 1998, CDE conducted two surveys, one among 75 of the country’s largest corporations and another among a sample of more than 6000 establishes businesses of varying sizes, in order to ascertain aspects of the resource flows from business to wider society.
Based on the surveys it was found that 11% of middle and senior level management positions were occupied by black people, while the proportion of black people in lower-middle and junior levels of management is now 24%, rises of 130% and 110% respectively.
More rapid progress towards employment equity can be expected from now on. The 75 firms covered in the first survey were training an average of 530 people in special advancement programmes, 85% of whom were black Africans. Only 13% of the large corporations had no affirmative action programmes in place.
Very large firms were slightly less inclined than smaller ones to relax merit criteria in making equity appointments, which is presumably due to the fact that the corporations in South Africa are better able to compete for qualified personnel and to develop talent through in-house training of such personnel.
The greatest impediment to more rapid progress is the shortage of qualified and experienced recruits, to the extent that nearly 20% of major corporations are relaxing merit criteria in their advancement programmes.