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The plight of the overqualified
Overqualified is a pretext for something that the hiring manager might not be in a position to disclose. If you have been told that you are overqualified, here is how you can counter it in future
The plight of the overqualified
10/7/2020 8:00 AMRecruitmentBridget Maoko10/7/2020 12:00 AM
hiring manager, overqualified, recruiter, job search

October content_Blog 1_Network Recruitment_v2 (002)0.jpgRead time: 01:40 


According to a recent study done by SC Johnson College of Business, managers are likely to make an offer to candidates with a less impressive CV as opposed to one with a stellar CV.


This is because hiring managers assume that candidates with a stellar CV won't be as committed to the company as candidates with an average CV.



Hiring managers are people and thus prone to vanities and bias so the findings in this study may not be 'all true' and this may vary based on the company and nature of the role. However, if you have been told that you are overqualified, here is how you can counter it in the future. But first, let's break down why you are likely to be labeled as 'overqualified.'

Overqualified is a pretext for something that the hiring manager might not be in a position to disclose, like:

  • You'd be difficult to manage
  • You're too old
  • You have high salary expectations
  • You are not a culture fit or
  • Your expertise could be viewed as a threat to existing management

Here are three ways to counter it

1. Highlight the underlying reasons for taking 'a lower job'
South Africa's economy shed 2,2 million jobs in the second quarter of 2020, couple that with COVID-19, 4IR, and many other factors it means that more people find themselves in the market even though they are highly skilled. The reasons may vary. Highlight clearly to the recruiter why you are taking 'a lower job.'

2. You have more to offer
Once you make it clear why you are downscaling, assure the hiring manager that they can benefit from your rich experience as you can easily scale up when tasked with difficult projects, and are likely to complete them on time and efficiently. Say this without sounding arrogant and making it seem like the job is too menial.

3. Be flexible on salary
During your conversation with the recruiter or hiring manager, make it clear that you expect to be paid the current market rate for the position and that your previous earrings are not relevant to your current job search.  There is a lot of factors that go into a hiring decision and being rejected for being 'overqualified' shouldn't stop your search.

If you are looking for a job as an IT, Finance, or Engineering candidate. Visit our website to register your CV and apply online. We are Market Leaders in Specialist Recruitment.

Are biometric CV’s the next big thing in recruitment?
Biometrics data encompasses things like fingerprints, iris scanners, human characteristics such as the rhythm of a person’s typing, or even their social habits.
Many companies are now showing interest in the biology of their employees
Are biometric CV’s the next big thing in recruitment?
9/15/2020 11:00 AMCVs and ResumesBridget Maoko9/15/2020 12:00 AM
CV, Biometrics, data, job

BIO.pngRead time - 01:30 
Biometrics data encompasses things like fingerprints, iris scanners, human characteristics such as the rhythm of a person's typing, or even their social habits.
Many companies are now showing interest in the biology of their employees with the belief that it could have a number of advantages if used in conjunction with traditional recruitment methods. This sounds fair and square, but it gets more complicated than that. Let's delve into it.



The next logical step
Employers currently require candidates to undergo psychometric tests to see if they've got the right personality and skills for the job, some even undergo physical tests.
We also know that - these days, companies extract and use data from candidate's social media profiles. They do background checks on credit scores and criminal checks. So this begs the question: are biometrics the natural next step? Well, maybe.

Biometrics not a new phenomena
There are companies already using biometrics as part of sussing candidates and matching them to the right job. The debate around whether candidates would submit this data from their own wearable tech or if the company would be tracking them for that period remains. (Ethical or not) This also poses a threat to the data being manipulated by either party for their own gains. For example, candidates can submit tweaked data in order to come across as a suitable candidate.

So if employers are to jump on this trend of incorporating the biometrics as part of their recruiting process a lot would have to be taken into consideration before the use of biometrics can go mainstream.  

Blind CV's vs use of biometrics
The idea of being tracked is not welcomed by everyone. So candidates may be wary of proving data of this magnitude to employers. This has also created a culture of blind CV's where candidates are no longer required to provide personal information such as age or marital status. Some employers go as far as removing names and replacing them with numbers to prevent unconscious bias.

Would you feel comfortable as a candidate if companies request biometrical data as part of their screening and recruiting process? Share with us.

Looking for an IT, Finance, or Engineering job? Contact Network Recruitment, Market Leaders in Specialist Recruitment!

How covid-19 is changing the face of recruitment
Thanks to Covid-19, the world is facing uncertainty in all industries, and recruitment is no different. This pandemic has changed the hiring process as we know it. And going back to normalcy might be a thing of the past.
How covid-19 is changing the face of recruitment
5/12/2020 11:00 AMRecruitmentBridget Maoko5/12/2020 11:00 AM
Covid-19, recruitment, Virtual recruiting, remote working

Recruitment.pngReading time: 01:47

Thanks to Covid-19, the world is facing uncertainty in all industries, and recruitment is no different. This pandemic has changed the hiring process as we know it. And going back to normalcy might be a thing of the past. Here is why: 

Virtual recruiting is here to stay
Most consultants source candidates online and have been doing so even before COVID-19. Social media, online job portals, ATS et al. Telephonic interviews have always been part of the process and the prolific use of Zoom, Skype and other video apps will not necessarily plummet after COVID-19. Recruitment companies have to refine attracting, recruiting onboarding, and retaining their virtual teams going forward. 


Remote work
Chats about remote work have been at the forefront of most employees, especially those whose roles are purely digital. Actually 'remote work' is not a new phenomenon. Many Fortunes 500 companies spearhead this trend. It will be interesting to see how - as the virus diminishes, organisations may suggest a permanent shift toward working from home for certain roles. 

Marketing 
Recruitment and related marketing strategies that remain the same as before COVID-19 will likely fail as there has been a shift in the labour market. Changes in regulations around how non-essential businesses can conduct operations daily and the pace at which hiring needs to happen in some industries. Talent acquisition managers and marketing will have to change their strategies in order to align with the changing need in the recruitment industry or risk failure. 

Office space 
A number of companies are keen to get their employees back into the office but as the law states, they need to create more space between teams and supply personal protective equipment (PPE.) Also, the reality of bringing a number of people that have been furloughed during lockdown back to work and expecting them to 'just' get back to work will be something interesting observe. 

Increased number of applicants post COVID-19
The unemployment numbers in South Africa were horrifying pre-COVID 19. One can only imagine what the stats will be post it. The reality is: people are falling through the cracks when it comes to income and job retention and this is going to cause an increase in applicant numbers when businesses reopen their doors. Are recruitment companies ready for this influx of candidates? 
This virus has revealed the need for technologies that support a remote work environment and companies that did not have the necessary tools and technologies are going to feel the pinch even more.

We are Market Leaders in Specialist Recruitment. Visit our website to learn more about us. 

Actuarial and Risk Recruitment insights amidst COVID-19
The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent state of emergency enacted by the South African government resulting in the national lockdown is unprecedented and has affected all businesses in South Africa in one way of another.
Actuarial and Risk Recruitment insights amidst COVID-19
4/29/2020 12:00 AMIndustry NewsSandra Olivier4/29/2020 12:00 AM
risk, acturial, COVID-19, Risk Recruitment, Actuarial recruitment
Reading Time - 6:32

The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent state of emergency enacted by the South African government resulting in the national lockdown is unprecedented and has affected all businesses in South Africa in one way of another. Considered to be essential services, financial services providers and the financial markets were required to remain operational during this time, but we have taken a deeper look at what the impact has been on their recruitment and talent management strategies.

In the UK, demand for staff fell for first time in over a decade, as the pandemic hit firms' appetite for staff and vacancy trends deteriorated. Candidate supply saw a modest contraction as Recruitment consultancies signaled only a mild drop in candidate availability at the end of the first quarter, as there were some reports of redundancies due to COVID-19. Source KPMG



Permanent Placements / Temporary Billings

Finance Graph.png

     50.0 = no-change       Sources: KPMG, REC, IHS Markit


Given that the South African business landscape often follows the trends of more developed economies, we are likely going to see a similar impact on the number of vacancies on the home front. However, over the past 3 weeks, we have engaged with over a thousand decision makers in Actuarial, Quantitative and Prudential Risk fields to provide you with the following 5 insights into their recruitment and business trends in these specialized areas;

1. Business as (un)usual
The most noticeable impact on firms has been in the way they conduct their business with the move to remote working situations whilst still being required to deliver the same level of work output and mitigating the impact on their reporting requirements. We have found that most financial services firms were remote work ready and saw little to no downtime in these areas but many have been kept unusually busy modelling the impact of COVID-19 on their liabilities and other areas of their business such as pricing, capital and liquidity requirements as well as general risk management. Many have welcomed the move by the JSE and FMCA to provide an extension in relation to listing requirements and statutory disclosures due in this period. Source: FMCA

2. Roles key to business sustainability
The consensus amongst the employers of Actuarial and Risk professionals is that due to the regulatory and statutory nature of these roles, and in many instances their existence being key to the solvency and survival of firms during uncertain times, their roles will remain secure when compared to other professions. Firms are likely to take cost cutting measures and reduce redundancies in other parts of their business. 
Where firms have a vacancy resulting from the need to replace an employee that has resigned, approximately 70% of these organisations have continued recruitment processes with the intention of making offers during this period. The latter have simply placed roles on hold until the end of the lockdown or until the 3rd quarter in some instances. 
The reality is that there is a tangible cost to having a vacancy where managers and teams are required to carry the additional workload until a replacement is found. This in turn impacts employee morale, as often the view of employees is that they now need to do additional work without any additional compensation. Extended periods of discontent amongst the remaining employees can lead to higher attrition of staff in these teams, exasperating the situation.  
Where roles were not replacing an employee that had left, but new roles that had been created to increase the capacity of teams, many of these roles have been placed on hold except where they were deemed to be critical to the business or its adopted strategy.

3. Impact on cost cutting and consultant spend
Many of our clients are looking at cost cutting and containment measures, and one area that appears to be most affected are external consultants and project spend, particularly where these projects were not critical to regulatory requirements or outsourced actuarial functions. 
This move will likely impact consulting firms for some time with infection levels expected to peak in September, resulting in a protracted period of lower engagements, with independent consultants and SME’s being hardest hit. While larger consultancies such as the big four will also feel the pinch, they are better placed to weather the storm as their quantitative and actuarial functions play a key role in audit engagements, providing some protection due to their statutory nature.

4. Impact on recruitment processes
With remote work and social distancing expected to continue for the remainder of 2020, interviews can no longer happen in a face to face setting. Companies are conducting their interviews online via Skype, Zoom, or other video call platforms. Live interviews are an effective alternative to face-to-face interviews during the lockdown and don’t require candidates to travel to the meeting location, which can save a lot of time and money for both parties.
In the current climate, hiring a candidate without meeting them in person may be the new reality and organisations need to ensure that they are effectively assessing candidates in this format. To aid you in conducting video interviews, here are a few tips:
  • Do a technical trial run before the actual interview. Make sure your tools are functioning properly to prevent any technical problems from happening during the interview. Check if your camera is working, test your microphone, and ensure that you have a strong internet connection. 
  • Prepare a set of open-ended interview questions and have a structure. Without a proper plan and a list of questions, you risk asking leading questions or questions that don’t reveal important information to help you make a solid hiring decision. You might also accidentally ask all your candidates different questions, which can lead to high interviewer bias and make it hard for you to assess your candidates fairly. 
  • If you want to record the interview, ask your candidate for permission to do so and explain to them what you are going to use the recording for. Consent is important. 
  • Have a plan B in case something goes wrong. For example, you could ask your candidate for a phone number where you can reach them in case you lose an internet connection during the interview. If the video cuts out, you can call them at that number and continue the conversation. Source: RecRight

5. Candidates are less open to changing jobs
Sourcing candidates can become more difficult. If a person is employed full time with their current employer, their willingness to change jobs will decline. People will value security over uncertainty during the crisis. At the same time, those top talents who fear their current employers’ potential layoffs may now be more open to new career opportunities. Source: TalentAdore

A number of hiring managers that we had spoken to were using the lockdown as an opportunity to pro-actively interview talent, either because they have a vacancy that was placed on hold, allowing them to make an offer immediately once the moratorium is lifted or preempting a spate of resignations from employees that have used the increased flexibility to attend interviews over this period. 

In closing, we are living extraordinary times, and many companies are hiring. It is important to ensure that you are not complacent during this time. Equally important is that we still have new employees starting at our companies who we need to be onboarded. It is not so simple to provide a great onboarding experience without meeting face-to-face or giving a tour at the office. Yet, it is possible. Review your recruitment processes to ensure that they are efficient to avoid losing out on top talent and relook the way that you engage new employees to ensure a great experience.

If you enjoyed this article, consider following us on social media (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) or visit our blog. 

How to prepare for an interview
Now, all you have to do is prepare for the actual interview! Here are 5 things we recommend you do while preparing for your interview:
Interview plan
3/17/2020 11:00 AMInterviewsBridget Maoko3/17/2020 11:00 AM
Interview, preparation, job searching

5 tips to prepare for an interview.pngReading time - 01:36 

OK, so you have applied for a role and have managed to secure an interview with the decision-makers. You received details from the person setting up the interview in terms of panel members, exact address, parking details and what to bring on the day.

Now, all you have to do is prepare for the actual interview! Here are 5 things we recommend you do while preparing for your interview:



Research the people and company you will be meeting with

  • This may be cliché, but trust us on this one and do your research. And try to look beyond the 'what the company does' staff[TK2]  and focus more on relating their values to yourself. Look up some of their employees on LinkedIn to get an idea of the people they hire. Go to their social media profiles and get a sense of their culture.

Do a mock interview

  • An average person does not attend enough interviews to know what to do when they have one. Hence practicing for one is highly recommended. So do mock interviews, they help you learn how to answer difficult questions and improve your confidence and communication skills. So grab a friend or family member and practice with them.

Interview appearance matters, dress the part!

  • Visual stimuli prompts immediate judgments ergo the importance of dressing well for an interview cannot be overstated. Dress well and dress in line with your industry. A finance candidate will unlikely dress the same way as an IT candidate. Know yourself.

Do not talk your way out of a job

  • The longer you speak without interruption, the less attention the listener is giving you. So speak 50% of the time and do not bore them with too many details or repeat yourself unless they ask you to.

Everything else matters

  • Preparing for an interview is just as important as doing the actual interview. Be optimistic and never badmouth your previous employer; never lie about your work experience or qualifications and most importantly, remember to manage your expectations! Companies have different hiring processes, for some, it might take two weeks and for others, it might take three months and this will affect how soon you are likely to hear from them.

Looking for an IT, Finance, Engineering or Supply Chain jobContact Network Recruitment, Market Leaders in Specialist Recruitment!

8 things every job seeker should know
 According to Stats SA - in the whole of 2019, South Africa’s economy grew by 0.2% (in real terms), the decline is larger than what economists had predicted. A climate like this does not make it any easier for job seekers.
job seeker
3/5/2020 11:00 AMJob SearchBridget Maoko3/5/2020 11:00 AM
interviews, job tips. career tips

Reading time - 01:548 things every job seeker should know.png

South Africa has many problems and a shrinking economy is one of them. According to Stats SA - in the whole of 2019, South Africa's economy grew by 0.2% (in real terms), the decline is larger than what economists had predicted. A climate like this does not make it any easier for job seekers.

We had a chat with our Executive Consultant – Sunette Roccon, who has been in the industry for over five years and she shared eight expert tips on how candidates can improve their chances of getting a job.



1. Apply for roles you qualify for

When applying for a job, apply for roles where you at least tick 60% of the boxes. Applying for a Property Manager role when you only have experience as a Typist won't improve your chances of getting an interview 

2. Keep your CV concise
Rather expand on your work experience than listing your interests and strengths, keep your CV simple and concise. 

3. Be tech-savvy
With lots of companies now becoming tech-savvy and trying to find efficient ways of doing business, you can't be an average performer anymore. Make sure that you stay on top of new technology trends in your field of expertise.

4. Work with a recruitment agency
Connect with the right niche recruiters to get better results. Like Network Recruitment, we specialise in IT, Finance, Engineering, and Supply Chain. If you Specialise in Digital Marketing then work with a recruiter specializing in that field. 

5. Finish the application process on job portals
Always complete the process. It's a tedious exercise but do it.  For example, when creating a Pnet profile, you will have to retype your CV into their system, do it once properly and then it's done. 

6. Initiate change if you are not happy
You cannot complain about not having a job or complain about your current one if you are not actively applying and doing something about it. Start the process of change instead of complaining.  

7.  Let your friends know you're job searching
Don't be shy to tell your contacts you are looking for a new job. Your close contact - who works as a General Manager for a multinational company might be looking for someone with your skills but no one knows that you are looking. Sharing just a little bit might help sometimes.

8.  Consider further studying
Should you study further in order to secure a new job?" The answer is simple, yes!  Some jobs do require a minimum qualification. If you do not have a degree, then get one!

Are you looking for an IT, Finance, Engineering or  Supply Chain job? Contact Network Recruitment, the centre of recruitment excellence.

Three essential tips for updating your CV
Updating your CV regularly ensures that you are primed and ready to respond to unexpected job opportunities; like when your uncle requests you urgently send him your CV.
CV updates
2/18/2020 11:00 AMCVs and ResumesBridget Maoko2/18/2020 11:00 AM
CV, update, resume
Africa (1).pngUpdating your CV regularly ensures that you are primed and ready to respond to unexpected job opportunities; like when your uncle requests you urgently send him your CV. 

You’ll not only send it at a snap of a finger but you’ll send it with the confidence of knowing that it's updated.  

A good rule of thumb is to update your CV every 3 to 6 months if you are actively job searching. This will save you from rewriting your it from the ground up every time you have to send it. 

Here are 3 keys things to keep in mind when updating your CV on a regular basis: 




Use keywords
  • Knowing which words to add on your CV is important. Visit our website Network Recruitment to view keywords our specialist recruiters use when searching for top candidates and incorporate some of them in your CV if you are in the same field. This will increase your chances of getting your CV being picked up by an application tracking system.
Keep up with trends
  • CV writing and formatting trends come and go and 2020 is no different. Observe trends in your industry and adapt your CV and skillset to those latest trends. For example, if you are in marketing, a video CV and an online portfolio may be on the latest trends as opposed to a standard word document.
Remove unnecessary information
  • Like: writing ‘curriculum vitae’ at the top of your document or, putting ‘name’ in front of your name and ‘address’ in front of your address. Be selective about the information you retain in your CV and remember, the older the job the less relevant it is.

Updating your CV regularly by adding small things like your achievements and new skills can give you a competitive advantage even if you have been in the same job for years because your responsibilities might have changed, or you may have taken a class or gotten a certificate. Your CV should reflect these changes.

Done updating your CV? Head over to our website to register it and apply online. We specialise in IT, Finance, Engineering and Supply Chain.
Life after matric. What are your options
The Department of Basic Education announced the class of 2019’s matric results several weeks ago.  They got an overall pass of 81.3%, an improvement of 3.1% from 2018, making the class of 2019 the highest pass percentage recorded in the last 25 years.
Matric
1/20/2020 12:00 PMMotivationBridget Maoko1/20/2020 12:00 PM
 Matric, education, artisan, career

Sunette (3).pngThe Department of Basic Education announced the class of 2019's matric results several weeks ago.  They got an overall pass of 81.3%, an improvement of 3.1% from 2018, making the class of 2019 the highest pass percentage recorded in the last 25 years. So why isn't the whole country in jubilation?

Well, in 2017; a total of 1 052 080 learners enrolled in Grade 10, yet only 409 906 learners passed matric last year. That means only 38.9% of those Grade 10 learners actually wrote and passed matric.

This means that in just two years, over 50% of pupils who were expected in matric (in 2019) fell through the system. Shocking!

The government does, however, have a plan in place to help reduce the number of pupils who drop out by introducing standardised national examination at the end of grade 9, along with a three-stream model allowing pupils to choose between vocational, occupational and academic pathways after grade 9.

Although everyone does not agree with this, it can actually serve as a great alternative for those who do not want to take the academic route. It will also help address the skill shortage debacle in our country as there are many jobs that require a certain level of skill but not university-level training. In fact, our country needs more mid-level technically skilled people like artisans.

According to the National Development Plan, for our country to stop poverty, reduce inequality and ensure that all citizens have better working and living conditions by 2030, we need to produce over 30 000 qualified artisans a year to meet the labour demand. This would be but not limited to:

  • Electricians
  • Millwright
  • Boilermakers
  • Plumbers
  • Mechanic including automotive mechanics and
  • Diesel mechanics

Artisans play an important role in the economic growth of our country. Having more of them means our country does not have to look outside for the right skillsets.

To be an artisan - you may first need to go through a TVET College, which is not the most 'glamorous' thing according to millennials as TVET colleges have a reputation of housing students that 'count make it to university.' Truth is, not everyone can go to university and that is okay.

Artisans are well paid and sought after. Network Recruitment Engineering is always recruiting and placing them.

To those who did not pass their matric, do not fret. Gather up courage and re-write. And to those who did, always remember that studying further does not always mean going to university. Explore your options!

Are you looking for an IT jobFinance jobEngineering jobor Supply ChainContact Network Recruitment, the centre of recruitment excellence.

Making your next career move
Making a career change is one of the most important decisions you may ever make, especially if you have been in a particular industry for a while.
Career changes
10/28/2019 12:00 PMCareer Management and DevelopmentBridget Maoko10/28/2019 12:00 PM
career changes, career moves

Making a career change is one of the most important decisions you may ever make, especially if you have been in a particular industry for a while. These changes may be because of your desire for a new environment, learning new things or simply because your career feels stagnant. Network Finance Branch Manager, Mel Kelly, has this to say about career change.


Network Recruitment: Is there a threshold at which one can change their career?

Mel Kelly: No.  If you are passionate and willing to put in the work, a career change is possible anytime in your career. There could, however, be hurdles such as qualifications that you would need to attain, or internships/ bridging programmes that you would need to complete, which may be barriers to change due to lack of financial or time resources such as raising a family or other commitments. Should these be in place, and you feel you up to another learning curve, there should be no threshold for changing your career.

Network Recruitment: What are some of the common signs that suggest it may be time to move on from a career?


Mel Kelly: I don't think people in general move on from careers.  Rather, they may move on from positions or companies. Obvious company related signs to move on would be retrenchments or severe financial instability. During interviews, personal reasons are often cited as the reason for seeking career growth and further career exposure. This usually translates to boredom, or inability to progress in the particular organisation within a reasonable period of time.

If salary is your main motivator, you should not let it cloud your judgement in what is best for your career in the long term. There can be times where you will be faced with the decision of a short-term loss for a long-term gain.

 

Network Recruitment: How does changing careers affect ones social status, career stability and reputation?

Mel Kelly: There is a great deal of subjectivity when it comes to this question. If you are someone who values material progress, a move for a better salary will attract you and afford you a better standard of living, and you will experience higher material status.

If you value the development of people, a move for greater leadership responsibility will be attractive. You could even feel better about your reputation by moving to a position where you can genuinely help other people, and this may give you a sense of higher status and reputation. It comes down to what you value.

Career stability, translates to job security and this is largely linked to the stability of the company you join.


Network Recruitment: Should employees tolerate a career that is rewarding monetarily even though they are not happy? 

Mel Kelly:  What you will tolerate is subjective, and linked to what you value most. If you value monetary gains, you may find tolerable what another person, with different values, may not. Ultimately do what makes you happy, and what is good for you. If you are earning handsomely and are genuinely miserable, it would seem obvious to me that there are other values which you may need to prioritise, and you may need to make a financial sacrifice. I firmly believe that your level of happiness at work directly influences your happiness in many other facets of your life.

 

Network Finance: What is the importance of having meaningful work, and what role does it play in having a successful career?

Mel Kelly: The word "meaningful" means different things for different people. I believe if you are doing work that is honest and allows you the ability to achieve the things you value, you can be happy. Being happy in what we do can lead us to feel our work is meaningful, and a happy employee is usually more motivated - with the right motivation and hard work, success is almost guaranteed.

 

Network Recruitment: What career mistakes should people avoid in order to succeed?

Mel Kelly:

  • Making decisions with a short-term focus, but which could hamper future attainment of your long-term career goals.
  • Involvement in anything that could lead to reputational damage or disciplinary implications must be avoided.
  • Lastly, being scared of growth.  Always say yes to a promotion - trust the vision of your leaders, and trust yourself to step up to the new challenge.

Are you looking for an IT jobFinance jobEngineering job, or a Contracting assignment? Contact Network Recruitment, the centre of recruitment excellence.

Mental health in the workplace
October 10 was World Mental Health Day. And as a brand that cares about employee wellness, we spoke to clinical psychologist - Dessy Tzoneva (former spokesperson for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group) in order to help raise awareness
Mental health
10/15/2019 10:00 AMEmployee WellnessBridget Maoko10/15/2019 10:00 AM
mental health, employee wellness

Picture4.pngOctober 10 was World Mental Health Day, and as a brand that cares about employee wellness, we spoke to clinical psychologist - Dessy Tzoneva (former spokesperson for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group) in order to help raise awareness. Here is what she had to say about mental health in the workplace:

 

Bridget: Should the responsibility of curbing workplace stress be placed on the hands of employers?

Dessy: This does not have to be an either/or job. Addressing workplace stress can be a collaborative task, with employers and employees both taking responsibility for what is within the control of each, making changes where possible to support stress reduction.

 

Bridget: Are people with mental health problems protected from discrimination in South Africa, in the workplace? 

Dessy: Even when the law protects people who are living with a mental health condition, it requires employers to enforce it, which does not always happen. There is also a lot of stigma that eixsts among peers, which – in the workplace – can look like jokes about a colleague's condition, gossip, and ongoing comments about the time needed for them to attend treatment.
This often adds to the stress experienced by people trying
to cope with a mental illness.

 

Bridget: To what degree should an employee talk to an employer about their mental health needs?

Dessy: With treatment, mental illness can be managed and the impact on the employee, as well as on the employer, can be minimised. But often, in order for this to happen, the employee needs to be able to trust that s/he can speak confidentially to her/his manager, and the employee needs to be supported in terms of attending treatment, as is the case with any other medical condition. This means that an employee would need to voice their needs so that they can negotiate with their employer new boundaries regarding workplace hours, leave, and other expectations.

 

Bridget: What are some of the major contributors of mental illness in the workplace?

Dessy: There are many contributors to mental illness. Aspects of their life at work, at home, their genetics, childhood experiences, and so much more can affect a person's mental health. Work expereinces can be a major source of stress and anxiety.

 

Bridget: Are private health care providers better equipped at helping people who have mental illnesses than public health care providers?

Dessy: No, that is not necessarily the case. There can be more practical frustrations in public healthcare, such as long queues, waiting periods, medication restrictions, etc., but this does not mean that the quality of the service provided by the mental health professionals there is of any lower quality than private practitioners.

 

Bridget: What does the South African Depression and Anxiety Group do?  (SADAG)

Dessy: SADAG is a mental health advocacy NGO that offers free guidance to helpline callers on where to find mental health assistance/treatment in their areas. Telephonic counsellors offer information and referrals to helpful local resources. The NGO also runs awareness campaigns, outreach projects, support groups, and wellness days at companies wanting to engage their employees on the topic of mental health. 


Bridget: How can we better manage our emotions?

Dessy: This is a complex question, and is often the focus of ongoing psychotherapy, so there is no simple, single answer. A good starting point is to become more self-aware so that you can notice what you are feeling and thinking, and begin to understand your reactions before acting on them impulsively.

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