South Africans turn to government jobs over ‘unethical’ private sector positions

As part of its recent survey of the most attractive employers in South Africa, Universum has released new findings on what employees are most looking for when choosing a job.

Over 45,000 university students and approximately 22,000 young professionals participated in the survey, which covered a range of study and professional categories including business and commerce, technology and engineering, and natural sciences.

It found that when looking at their employment and careers, both university students and professionals consider an average of 13 employers, before settling for an average of three that they would view as being attractive enough to be labelled an ideal employer.

Additionally, nearly 50% of the experienced hires indicated that they intend to change jobs within a year.

“As in the previous years, this research shows that talent simply does not know enough about most employer brands to evaluate them and classify them as being an ideal employer,” Universum said.

“This results in talent using job function or industry as their search criteria when looking for employment. Ultimately they find jobs that do not speak to what is important to them in their careers leading to high mobility in search for an employer that embodies the attributes they view as being important.”

“Consistently coming through for both university students and experienced professionals is the main focus on development, leadership and ethical standards. These are the core areas that both target groups are looking for in employers.

“They have key expectations from the employer and those expectations do not primarily hinge on remuneration and advancement, but touch on other areas that pertain to the organisational reputation and image, its people and culture, as well as the job characteristics.”

The survey showed a renewed interest in working for the government and state owned enterprises whose attractiveness had significantly dropped in the previous survey cycle due to bad publicity, said Universum.

The survey indicated that the tone around the future of state owned enterprises, as well as the management of government departments, has shifted to a more positive outlook impacting their levels of attractiveness.

In comparison, the private sector faced very public ethical questions resulting in a drop in the attractiveness of most privately owned and international organisations.

Working for an international company still tops the list (between 2o%-30% of respondents), followed closely by working for a privately-owned local company (18-24%), and working for government (8%-19%).


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South Africans turn to government jobs over ‘unethical’ private sector positions