movingOne of the growing forces that is contributing to the talent wars in South Africa is “demand�. We know that Xers in their early careers aim to increase their marketability by building a portfolio as opposed to a CV. Bigger packages, flexible hours, freedom and the like all have an important part to play in the rate at which BYTs jump ship (or stay), but I have a hunch (if I have to look at myself as a BYT) that being in demand is one of the biggest factors. We want to be in demand – it boosts our ego and it proves to us that our marketability is working. This is especially true of young black BYTs in South Africa – the prices on their heads are exorbitant and it is all based on demand (much like share prices).
How do you keep an investor on the JSE loyal? You don’t – you have to entice her. And so when it comes to talent, companies are under huge pressure (and pain) to re-invent themselves into organizations that invite as opposed to coerce their BYTs into staying. This is tough news for business leaders as the implication is that their job needs to be more about managing talent than focusing on share price and shareholder value.
But is it only up to the company? Are we not regressing into Dilbertian mindsets if we believe it is only up to the company to solve this problem? I believe so. I reckon that there is also a mindset change required from BYTs themselves. Sure demand is wonderful, and the salaries are better … but what value is there in taking up positions that you know you are not ready for (despite what your arrogance tells you regarding your ability to adapt?).

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