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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. 

4 South African companies leading the diversity charge
There are four South African organisations that continue to pave the way in embedding diversity and inclusion in their company culture strategy, and it's evident that their respective strategies are working.
leaders in diversity
4 South African companies leading the diversity charge
9/16/2019 1:25 PMIndustry NewsLerato Mashego9/16/2019 1:25 PM
Network Recruitment

Earlier this week Network Recruitment shared a blog highlighting the importance of embracing diversity within an organisation. There are four South African organisations that continue to pave the way in embedding diversity and inclusion in their company culture strategy, and it's evident that their respective strategies are working.

According to the 2018 Thomson Reuters Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Index, Woolworths Holdings (24th overall), Vodacom (42nd overall), Clicks Group (58th overall) and Nedbank (95th) were amongst the top 100 most diverse companies to work for in the world.

For any organisation to qualify as diverse and inclusive, the Index considers numerous factors such as the make-up of the company's board members in terms of gender and culture, if they make concessions for disabled employees or not, and how they go about training current and new employees. Furthermore, it considers working conditions, remuneration and the amount of time the company was covered by the media on a controversial issue.

These are the Index's top 20 diverse companies in the world:

Company NameOverall D&I Percentage Score (%)HQ Country
Accenture PLC84.25Ireland
Novartis International AG79.25Switzerland
Medtronic PLC79.00Ireland
Diageo PLC78.75UK
Gap Inc.78.50USA
Telecom Italia SpA77.75Italy
Kering SA77.50France
Natura Cosmeticos SA77.25Brazil
L'Oreal SA77.25France
Acciona SA77.00Spain
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.77.00USA
Ucb SA75.00Belgium
Roche Holding AG75.00Switzerland
Woolworths Group Ltd.74.75Australia
Nestle SA74.50Switzerland
Microsoft Corp.74.25USA
Colgate-Palmolive Co.74.00USA
Procter & Gamble Co.74.00USA
Eli Lilly and Co.74.00USA
HP Inc.73.75USA
Merck & Company Inc.73.75USA

 Partner with one of our specialist recruiters and gain access to organisations which are diverse and inclusive so that you can finally work for the company of your dreams!

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

3 win-win strategies to embrace cultural differences
In this blog, Network Recruitment highlights 3 strategies that employers can implement in their business to embrace their culturally diverse team.
cultural strategies
cultural strategies
9/12/2019 11:15 AMIndustry NewsLerato Mashego9/12/2019 11:15 AM
Network Recruitment

cultural strategiesAs more conglomerates continue to occupy the global marketplace, the multifaceted concept of workplace diversity is expected to evolve. While most thriving organisations have a culturally diverse workforce, it needs to be managed effectively.  After all, there is power in diversity.

Take South Africa, for example.  It has 11 official languages and it's rare to find a business that doesn't have employees who speak less than four, if not all eleven, languages. Although the most spoken language of choice would be English, all these employees have different values and belief systems. This can be beneficial for a company as studies reveal it allows for easier adoption to consumer demands and shifting markets.

In this blog, Network Recruitment will highlight 3 strategies that you can implement in your business to embrace your culturally diverse team.

Understand each culture

According to Stats SA's 2018 mid-year population estimates report, it's likely that SA will have about R1.02 million immigrants by 2021, and that 47.5% of those immigrants will settle in the economic hub of Gauteng. As such, it's becoming necessary for businesses in Gauteng to understand each culture and how it differs from others. Organisations should start investing in learning about different cultures from their current employees.

Create a positive company culture

In order to manage cultural differences in any organisation, the employer needs to be able to interact with employees from differing social, economic and cultural backgrounds. In today's workforce, it's crucial for team members to be aware of their cultural differences and how they will directly or indirectly affect the way in which they communicate with each other. Make an effort to create and implement positive strategies where cultures within the organisation are celebrated.

Improve your team's communication skills

In any organisation, communication is crucial. It, therefore, becomes essential for your staff to understand that verbal and non-verbal communication differs from one culture to another.

These strategies will not only broaden your view and that of your employees on a global level but will also go a long way to establish respect from all parties. If your company prioritises the creation and maintenance of an inclusive company environment where cultural differences are respected and celebrated, it will thrive.

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

Women in executive positions
Whilst gender diversity in South Africa has improved over the last three years, much remains to be done.
women in executive positions
Women in executive positions
8/8/2019 12:00 PMIndustry NewsLerato Mashego8/8/2019 12:00 PM
Network Recruitment, executive positions, management positions

The 2017 Grant Thornton Women in Business report revealed that women in South Africa occupy 28% of senior positions as opposed to 25% in 2016. Whilst gender diversity in South Africa has improved over the last three years, much remains to be done.

Although there are more women than men in South Africa, 2017's labour data confirms that of every 100 employed professionals in the workforce, 44 of those employees are women – this means women hold 44% of skilled positions ranging from technicians to management. However, this figure has remained constant since 2002.

This is, however, not the case in government, where 30% of senior management jobs are held by women, a figure which seems to be on the up. In fact, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, SA is ranked as the 10th country worldwide to have the most females, with over four in every ten positions filled by women.

Even though African businesses, more specifically SA businesses can be proud of having more women in director and executive management positions, the picture is less rosy in the rest of the world 

A 2016 McKinsey & Company Women Matter Africa report showed that only 5% of CEOs in the private sector in Africa are females, in comparison with the 4% global representation.

"In terms of gender diversity, one of the key findings is that we [Africa] are doing well compared to the rest of the world and we have made progress but we are not making the most of the opportunity," explained Lohini Moodley, partner at McKinsey.

Contact Network Recruitment if you want to break the glass ceiling. 

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

The future of accounting professionals
Professionals in this sector need to start preparing themselves for minor changes that could affect the way they work.
accounitng professionals
Accounting professionals
7/15/2019 12:25 PMIndustry NewsLerato Mashego7/15/2019 12:25 PM
Finance recruitment agencies, Finance recruitment, Network recruitment, Specialist recruitment

Accounting professionalsAround the world, businesses have been evolving in response to new challenging shifts in technology and have encouraged many to adopt new models. The accounting profession is no different.

Earlier this year Bizcommunity featured an article discussing what this profession would bear resemblance to in the next five to ten years. Unsurprisingly, technologies such as AI, blockchain and cloud computing, to mention a few, are requiring finance practitioners to become more innovative in how they approach their careers.

It must be noted that although there will still be a high demand for this profession in the next decade or so, professionals in this sector need to start preparing themselves for minor changes that could affect the way they work.

Professor Rashied Small of Saipa advises that these technological disruptions will not replace accountants themselves but rather automate processes. "… they (accountants) will channel automatically generated insights into actionable business development initiatives, risk management plans, flexible and sustainable business models, and much more. In short, today's accountant will be tomorrow's strategic advisor".

The gender factor

There has been significant progress in combating gender discrimination. A Global Accounting Alliance article shares that there has been an increasing number of females entering the profession. For example, accounting companies such as Grant Thornton have seen a rise of female trainee accountants entering the organisation worldwide.

"The accounting profession has become an attractive choice for females, and it bodes well for creating opportunities for women in leadership positions. The CA(SA) qualification has proved to be a good choice for potential CEOs, FDs and most certainly for future audit partners," mentioned Grant Thornton's then Director Lee-Anne Bac.

Educational support

Demographics are important to any industry and the accounting professional is no exception. Every profession should be able to represent South Africa's true demographics. According to Professor Small, acknowledging the economic constraints that young black Africans face could bring the industry one step closer to reaching this goal.

"We must acknowledge the economic constraints many young black Africans face and provide stronger programmes to help them reach their goal. This includes subsidised education, possible earn-while-you-learn opportunities, and career support that turns an unattainable dream into an achievable future.  To this end, SAIPA has through the partial funding of FASSET for Project Achiever, professionalised approximately 3,000 Black African Professional Accountants over a period of four years – this has been achieved through the aggressive commitment to its transformation agenda," he says.

Stricter laws

In the wake of several high-profile scandals, South Africa is developing stricter laws to prevent and curb misconduct in this profession. It is said that by 2030, industry watchdogs with legal influence could exist to monitor professional conduct. In the meantime, SAIPA is actively enhancing its investigations and disciplinary processes and is planning to inspect and review all its members.

Preparing yourself for these changes could propel you to the top of the game. To promote yourself in this changing industry, you need a specialist finance recruiter by your side. Contact Network Finance today.

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

Moving to Africa
If you’re thinking of moving to Africa, watch this video as our Branch Manager, Michelle Snyman gives you five tips to make this process easier.
moving to Africa
6/28/2019 3:15 PMIndustry NewsLerato Mashego6/28/2019 3:15 PM
career opportunities, Network Recruitment

There is a growing number of professionals moving to Africa to find better career opportunities. Studies reveal that this move is motivated by the thought of Africa being a 'promising destination'.

If you're thinking of moving to Africa, watch this video as our Branch Manager, Michelle Snyman gives you five tips to make this process easier.

 

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

Paternity leave
If you're still unsure about this new Amendment Act, read our blog today.
paternity leave
6/20/2019 12:15 PMIndustry NewsLerato Mashego6/20/2019 12:15 PM
Network Recruitment

President Cyril Ramaphosa approved a major game changer to the paternity leave regulation last year. This new Amendment Act now permits fathers to receive 10 successive days of paternal leave from the date of birth as opposed to three days. This also applies to one parent who has a child via surrogacy and adoption under the age of two years.

According to law firm Wright Rose-Innes, paternity leave is unpaid leave like its counterpart maternity leave (in some organisations). However, this should not prevent an employer from providing paid parental leave to the father if they provide paid maternity leave.

"The Amendment Act also provides for the Unemployment Insurance Act to allow a parent claiming paternal leave the opportunity to claim unemployment insurance of 66% of the earnings of the parent at date of the claim, provided the parent was in employment for at least 13 weeks before the date of application for such parental benefits. The employer will, therefore, be under an obligation to assist the parent to claim parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund but this does not stop an employer from providing for paid or proportionally paid parental leave – although the Amendment Act makes it clear that the parent cannot receive more than the parent would have received had the parent not been on parental leave."

This is an incredible victory for all parents in South Africa.

MP Cheryllyn Dudley explains:

 

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

The millennial factor: younger bosses
Being a 'younger boss' can be intimidating.  The truth is that managing any team, regardless of your age, is a challenge, albeit one which can be overcome.
millennial factor
6/11/2019 9:50 AMIndustry NewsLerato Mashego6/11/2019 9:50 AM
Network Recruitment

By the year 2020, studies indicate that more than 70% of the workforce/ workplace will comprise of millennials. As they begin to mature, climb the corporate ladder and move into higher positions, they are no longer the youngest generation in the job market. However, they still hold about 20% of all executive roles.

Are millennials ready to lead?

According to Executive Headlines, millennials are not ready to lead now because they lack the experience to do so. Although they are the most innovative and solution-driven generation, they lack the confidence and experience to take up leadership positions.

There is hope

Being a 'younger boss' can be intimidating.  The truth is that managing any team, regardless of your age, is a challenge, albeit one which can be overcome. When you are placed in a managerial role, you learn to change your perspective from telling your team how to do something they are good at, to challenging them to do better.

What to do?

1.    Be transparent and set an example

24-year veteran at Microsoft and CEO, Julie Larson-Green, says "you model behaviour as a leader. And the number-one thing I have learned about creating a work-life balance for the team is to be reliable. I'll say, "I've got my kid's soccer; I'm out." Or, "I've got Ultimate Frisbee" - that's what my son's really into. Whenever he has a game, I mark it on my calendar and let people know. Then they can work around that. When you're working as a team, it's the unknown - like, where is that person or why aren't they here? - that's a problem."

2.    Have the right conversations with your team

It's always best to know what keeps your team motivated and happy for them to continue delivering the best results. For example, if your team consists of older employees, they may value flexitime as an incentive more than money. There are many younger bosses' who underestimate the value in knowing their team members and supporting them, which is the correct and appropriate way to get the best possible results.

3.    Have a clear direction

As a new manager, it's crucial for you to have a clear goal you want your team to achieve. Career coaches suggest adopting a more democratic style of leadership. Many call this the participative leadership methodology, where team members including the manager are all included in the decision-making process - it's inclusive and encourages participation from everyone. For example, if all your team members are involved in the decision-making process they are more inclined to move in the same direction.

As exciting as this is for millennials, you will still need the assistance of an industry expert. Contact Network Recruitment for your next career move.

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

Three tips to embrace digital transformation in construction
Attention all engineering construction professionals! Here are tips to help you harness the benefits of the digital revolution.
digital transformation in construction
digital transformation in construction
5/29/2019 9:20 AMIndustry NewsLerato Mashego5/29/2019 9:20 AM
Network Engineering, engineering recruitment, construction recruitment

The future of construction is digital. Not only are construction professionals and leaders embracing this digital revolution, they are hopeful that this change will affect their industry in a positive way.

Is the industry ready?

Yes, it is. In fact, one of the big 4 audit firms revealed in a survey that 55% of construction and engineering professionals believe their industry is mature enough to handle this revolution. Although 95% think this transformation will change the industry significantly, 74% believe this change will be in full swing in less than 2024.

However, in 2016, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP released a strategy report which suggested that the construction industry could be falling behind when it comes to digital transformation. It mentioned that some construction companies are still using paper-based processes which stymied productivity. For example, mailing revised blueprints, tracking paper receipts and invoices or driving to sites to inspect and implement small changes waste a contractor's time and money.

Here are some tips on how to harness the benefits of the digital revolution.

You can manage projects from any location

Instead of making use of outdated paper blueprints, construction crew members are using tablets to review and inspect plans. In addition, digital photos allow managers to inspect sites remotely. Furthermore, project management software can show real-time revisions and changes that increase transparency within the industry reduces errors and delays and forces crew members be accountable for their work.

You can work effectively on site

Having certain apps and software at your disposal eliminates the time factor. For example, a foreman doesn't have to get back to the office to update blueprints anymore as this can be done immediately on site. These tech platforms enable professionals to adjust plans in real-time which eliminates delays that can affect project deadlines. According to Construction Dive, these digital tools allow foremen to immediately retrieve and compare data on actual project hours, budgeted hours, and remaining hours, which helps keep projects on or close to budget.

You can track your expenses anywhere

Centralising expenses on a digital platform will provide you with a holistic view of all your project expenses and where your finances are. Digitising your expenses ensures that every expense is accounted for.

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

Millennials as an important resource in the modern workplace
In case you were wondering, millennials are an important resource in the modern workplace. Here's why.
millennials
Millennials
4/11/2019 11:10 AMIndustry NewsLerato Mashego4/11/2019 11:10 AM
Network Recruitment

MillennialsIn case you were wondering, millennials are an important resource in the modern workplace. With baby boomers retiring, and millennials currently holding about 20% of all leadership roles, it's vital for employers to create a culture that will allow millennials to thrive in organisations as their roles increase in leadership importance.

According to Cura Software Solutions' sales and operations regional director, Alex Roberts, the most valuable contribution millennials bring to the table is their close relationship with technology.

"The negative preconceived notions that some hold about this generation are often unsubstantiated, misguided and incorrect, and an attempt to understand how to maximise millennial efficacy can amplify the company's productivity," Roberts mentioned.

Although the generation has its own share of shortcomings, Roberts argues that the value they bring to the success of any organisation outweighs their preconceived weak points.

What do they bring to the table?

  1. Increased focus on teamwork. Millennials enjoy collaborating with others on projects. They have an increased focus on working together.
  2. Increased diversity and inclusivity. Millennials feel strongly about diversity and inclusion. A study by Pew Research revealed that millennials are more inclined to identify themselves as multicultural than any other generation before and after them.
  3. Increased flexibility. Studies found that millennials will stay at an organisation that encourages a flexible working environment. "Ultimately, the risk that millennials bring to the workplace is not that they lower the bar. In fact, their commitment to technological advancement, purpose-driven work, flexibility, inclusion, and diversity raises it," he suggests.

What's at stake?

If organisations fail to embrace millennials, they run the risk of falling behind their peers, particularly when it comes to technology. Technology is increasingly becoming a vital part of increasing production in the workplace and as such you will need tech-savvy employees. Living in a tech era, millennials are constantly adopting new ideas and willing to think out of the box.

Making it work

As technology continues to advance, so has the need for instant gratification. A millennial's desire to climb the corporate ladder quickly is often unrealistic - they can definitely stand to learn a few things from baby boomers. As millennials continue to step into leadership positions, it's up to employers to impart skills while helping them to develop their careers.

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

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