The South African Graduate Recruitment Association (SAGEA) recently commissioned an exploratory study into talent management practices, focusing specifically on talent in the graduate sector.
The research design included parallel surveys, one for organisations (current policy and practice), and another to look at graduates (the designated talent pool in this study).
Twenty six leading South African employers participated in the study, whilst the graduate survey was sent to 1544 graduates, of which a total of 736 completed the survey.
Top Line Findings
Talent Management as a Strategic Business Issue
All of the participating organisations indicate talent management and retention as a strategic business imperative. However, only 62% of organisations have a budget allocation for talent management, and only 46% reward senior executives for managing the talent pipeline.
Defining Talent in Organisations
Talent, in this sample of organisations, is primarily differentiated by high performance (96%), and high potential (92%). Other key factors are critical positions with a strategic business impact (88%) and demographic groups (race and gender in this case - 74%). Only 10% differentiate talent by hierarchical levels of work.
Graduate Rating of Job Factors: Importance and Satisfaction
The two most important job factors for graduates are employability (developing knowledge and skills that are marketable within and beyond current employment), and work-life balance. Compensation and benefits is rated lowest in importance.
The top five items, across factors, of importance are:
Graduates: Anticipated Tenure
Only 20% of graduates indicate that they intended to stay with their respective employers for 5 years or more. Black graduates see themselves as more mobile than white graduates. Overall, the indications are that organisations will retain only 2 out of 10 graduates over a five year period.
Talent Management: A Three-Way Partnership
The talent management practices dashboard was developed to measure 5 dimensions (integration, development, motivation, deployment and reward) from 3 perspectives (the individual, the organisation and the manager).
Overall, there is agreement between the organisation and graduate scores, with graduates scoring slightly lower across all of the 15 items.
The lowest scoring dimension was reward (non-monetary rewards). The 3 factors are visibility for the individual (beyond the immediate work environment - 46%), measurement (rewarding managers for managing talent well - 43%) and accountability (managers recognising and rewarding individuals effort - 48%).
Overall, the perspective with the lowest average scores is the individual - manager perspective. This is important given that managers are the point of contact between talented individuals and the organisation. The key results are:
These findings also need to be seen in the context of the Y-Generation questions. Graduates describe themselves significantly higher than employers do on the following characteristics:
Graduates also describe themselves much lower (38% lower) on a free agent disposition. This is an interesting paradox of wanting independence, but not wanting to act independently (or at risk). We believe that it is this paradox that is the underlying driver of the lower ratings seen on the talent management practices dashboard. It could be that, organisations, and particularly managers, are not properly equipped to deal with emerging needs.
What the findings suggest is that there may be an emerging attitude of temporary loyalty, i.e. I will be committed to the goals of the organisation and deliver against a specific set of accountabilities for which I want to be appropriately rewarded. In doing so, I also need to increase my value.. and then I am moving on to the next opportunity.
This was an exploratory study, and despite the limitations relating to the size of the sample groups, there are useful insights to be gained.
Regarding the observations around temporary loyalty, these are some suggestions:
For the detailed findings please visit www.sagra.org.za or contact Cathy Sims at firstname.lastname@example.org or Angus Bowmaker-Falconer at email@example.com or Martin Sutherland at firstname.lastname@example.org