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Labour broker ruling forces a change in employment strategies


The recent Constitutional Court ruling in which someone automatically becomes a permanent employee after three months, forces a rethink of hiring practices in South Africa. The idea of hiring a person after three months’ probation may no longer be a best practice. This opinion does not want to focus on the fact that some employers go about probation periods as a means to obtain cheap labour for a short time.

Concourt ruling or not, employers all experience the pain that new hires undergo a personality change after a probation period is over. Growth Institute believes that the recent Concourt ruling will see more new hires undergo such personality changes.

Many companies can attest to the fact that new hires are on their best behaviour during probation.

However, their behaviours alter radically after the probation period because some new hires believe that, since they are in a permanent post now, they cannot be dismissed at all. Since it is a fact that the dismissal of an employee is difficult, employers need to consider adapting their employment strategies. Changes in employment strategy should aim at getting to know a potential employee better before making a job offer to that person.

The National Skills Development Act, Learnerships and the focus on previously unemployed youth from a B-BBEE perspective is a tightly coupled system that employers should use to reshape their hiring strategies.

Learnerships are linked to giving the youth access to a first qualification. True learnerships run over at least a twelve-month period. Thus, learnerships are actually an extended form of interview in which persons on a learnership can be observed for twelve months before there is a decision to offer that person an employment contract.

Learnerships require academic performance as well as the application of newly acquired skills in the workplace. It makes sense that a person who does not get passing marks on a learnership may not be a good future investment. Since learnerships are a mix of theory and the practical application of that theory, persons who get top marks in a learnership should be highly sought after from an employability perspective.

The type of learnerships offered by Growth Institute require a pass mark of 60%. This pass mark seems unreachable but there are important reasons for this high pass mark:

  • At the end of a twelve-month learnership, students receive a qualification recognised by a professional body and students can receive professional designations indicating their newly acquired professional status

  • The exams are external exams written and an examining body that has been in existence for 87 years

  • The required pass mark of 60% means that anyone who made it through the learnership is better qualified for a position than a candidate who passed at a 50% level

The fact that a true learnership’s duration is at least 12 months, means that employers have ample time to observe the learner’s behaviour in the workplace. Employers can quickly detect those who are serious to achieve work success and academic success, versus those who think that they have access to free education and that they have no moral or contractual obligation to the company offering the learnership.

Experience also shows that students who are able to pass the learnerships offered at Growth Institute are better equipped to embark on higher level study programs such as degrees after they completed a National Diploma on a learnership. Since these students have been exposed to the workplace while they studied, they find it easier to adapt to the processes and procedure of an employer than those who have not obtained a qualification through the learnership route.

Considering all of the above, companies can no longer afford to use learnerships as merely a means to check compliance boxes.

Learnerships as a cost effective and sustainable recruitment strategy can no longer be dismissed.



Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER

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