Talk around a ‘return to normal’ is no longer a topic of discussion for businesses in South Africa, as the pandemic has fundamentally changed the country’s workplace, says Georgina Barrick, managing director at Network Contracting Solutions, AdvTech Resourcing’s Contracting Division.
Speaking to Michael Avery in the latest episode of BusinessTalk, Barrick said that internationally there has been growing talk of a ‘great resignation’ as the pandemic has led employees across the world to weigh up their employment options and consider whether they actually enjoy their work.
While this trend has not hit South Africa in a meaningful way as yet, it is likely to be seen more clearly in the near future, Barrick said.
While South Africa faces a record high unemployment rate, which hit 34.4% in the last quarter (Q2 2021), there is still a dearth of skills in certain sectors. This means highly skilled South Africans have the opportunity to be more discriminant in the work they choose to take on post-pandemic.
“It is not about people leaving the country per se. It is about people changing their jobs because they have rethought or reimagined their career and what is important to them,” she said.
“I think the pace that we have been operating at (during the pandemic) has been unsustainable, and so we are seeing more organisations addressing mental health and wellness as being locked in your home has been very tough on many people.”
Barrick said that this had been exacerbated for professionals who have had children homeschooling during the lockdown, as well as having to deal with other home-based responsibilities while still trying to work.
“Your workday is not an 08h00 to 17h00 day. It’s 08h00 to 17h00, followed by a pause, a second job of dealing with your family, and then restarting work at 20h00 or 21h00.”
Barrick said that this immense pressure has led people to evaluate exactly what they want to be doing, resulting in staff turnover.
“We are seeing a lot of international companies looking to South Africa for skills, which gives contractors the opportunity to work on international projects and not leave the country.”
You can watch the full BusinessTalk interview with Barrick below.