From the editor's desk: Both sides of the coin

Issue 5 2023 News & Events

Andrew Seldon, Editor.

We live in a country with, at best, an unemployment rate sitting above 30%. At the same time, we continually hear about companies struggling to find skills or that are unhappy with the people they hire.

Then, if you look at it from the other side of the coin, you often hear of companies wanting to fill a supposedly ‘entry-level position’, while requiring five or more years’ experience – or something to that effect.

This seems illogical when you look at it as presented above. However, we often find companies opting to get rid of older people who have worked long enough to get a decent salary, exploit the economic failure South Africa is, and pay the least possible while expecting the most. As can be expected, the Americans have a name for the result, ‘quiet quitting’.

Knowing they are simply resources that are exploited, a large number of employees engage in quiet quitting. This means they show up and do their job, but they do the absolute minimum. Why go the extra mile, they ask, when it’s not appreciated and you are not respected as a person? This is when one often hears the ‘it’s not my job’ response to asking people to do something not specifically stipulated in their contract.

Then the bosses get angry because ‘this young generation doesn’t know how to work’, and the quiet quitting continues or even intensifies. Pretty pictures on the walls with vision statements and nauseating words telling people how valuable they are doesn’t change the situation. What is required is a different approach.

Of course, we all know the abysmal state of the South Africa economy, which is probably going to get worse with the current crowd in charge playing revolution instead of keeping on good terms with one of the country’s most important trading partners.

Perhaps this is where the almost endless supply of security associations need to actually do something useful. I am aware that there are a few associations that actually are useful and work for the industry, but it is sadly not the norm. Why do the associations not set up internships in collaboration with companies? The association could send someone with potential on a course, followed by an internship and mentoring at a company for a few months.

If the person proves their potential, the association could send them on another course, followed by another internship and so on. The association could actually put its money to good use (although we all love the lunches and annual get togethers) and pay for vetting and training.

Given the horrible state of the state’s basic education, these interns may have to start at the bottom and be trained and mentored up the ladder, but if a few young people are able to learn and find their footing in the industry each year, it will make a difference in the long run.

But here we go back to the beginning of this short comment and have to talk about how the interns are treated and paid. If a beginner gets a beginner’s wage, that’s fair. But after a year or two or three, will they get a fair salary, or will they be exploited because state corruption and incompetence makes it so easy?


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