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EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES EXCLUDED FROM TOP POSITIONS

Noxolo Majavu | 3 July 2024


Commission for Employment Equity finds 1.8% of top management is made up of employees with disabilities.


The Commission for Employment Equity has expressed concern regarding SA’s transformation in the labour market, noting the exclusion of people with disabilities in top management positions.


The commission’s 24th report indicates that employees with disabilities have a low representation at the top management level. Only 1.8% of top management is made up of employees with disabilities and significant efforts are still needed to enhance their representation both within government and the private sector at this level.


The report also highlights that managerial positions, especially in the private sector, remain predominately occupied by white people. According to the report, this trend shows the white population is over-represented, followed by Indians, while African and coloureds are primarily occupying positions from professionally qualified, middle-management levels and below.


This phenomenon indicates that 30 years after democracy and 26 years since the introduction of the Employment Equity Act, racial and gender divisions persist in the labour market.


“Of relevance and great concern to the Commission for Employment Equity is the low representation of employees with disabilities across all occupational levels in all the economic sectors. There appears to be unwritten quotas in the representation of employees with disabilities to either keep them at approximately 1% representation across occupational levels and even worse, as an overall representation of the total workforce in both the private and public sectors,” the report says.


The report notes progress in transforming the labour market has been extremely sluggish. It underscores that there has not been substantial advancement in achieving fair representation of all designated groups across various job levels, particularly in senior management positions across all sectors of the economy.


The report states the private sector employs the largest proportion of workers in SA, comprising 72.2% of the workforce, while government employment, including national, provincial and local levels, accounts for 16.8%. The successful implementation of employment equity in the private sector has the potential to bring about positive changes in the overall transformation of the labour market.


“Government is making good progress in affirming the designated groups in terms of the various population groups. The representation of the African population group (74.7%) is significant in government, while in the private sector they continue to lag behind (14%) at this occupational level. The private sector is the biggest employer of foreign nationals (3.0%) at this level,” the report says. 


In terms of the Employment Assistance Programme (EAP), the report reveals that the white population group is grossly over-represented in terms of its EAP across all sectors at the top management level. While Indians are underrepresented in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.


“The representation of the coloured population only exceeds their EAP in the education sector at this level. Whereas the public administration and defence; compulsory social security sector performed well in affirming the African population group at this level. Foreign nationals are highly represented in the manufacturing, financial and insurance activities and the mining and quarrying sectors at this occupational level,” the report states.


It reveals that whites predominantly benefit from recruitment, promotion and skills development opportunities at the top management level. Despite being affected by a majority of terminations (57.2%) at this level, the overall net effect still favours whites in terms of opportunities, which include both recruitment and promotions.


The report shows that the representation of females is better in the government, even though their representation is below their EAP at the top management level. The representation of females remains low, particularly in the private sector (25.8%).


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


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