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[Opinion] Transformation has benefits for corporate SA by Mahlatse Kabi

May 18, 2014

What does it take to make it in the corporate world when you’re young, ambitious and black?

Hard work, intelligence, discipline, good academic qualifications?

The answer is all of the above, but where you are could turn out to be just as important as what you are and what you bring to an organisation.

Work at a transformed South African company will almost certainly be more beneficial to the previously disadvantaged individual than a job inside a company that resists change or engages in tokenism.

After a decade of black economic empowerment one would think that a career at a transformed company would be the norm for young black professionals.

Regrettably, this is far from the case.

There is shortage of skilled professionals in the country; more especially black professionals. Yet many still struggle to climb the corporate ladder. Could the issue be the professional’s choice of an organisation or is it something else?

Many black executives in mid-career know what it’s like to make progress little by little without support systems, without structured, hands-on mentorship, with no appreciation of what it took just to get a halfway decent education and a foot in the corporate door, with little understanding of your home circumstances and scant assurance that successful delivery will lead to recognition and promotion, or even rotation into more fulfilling work.

Making it on your own without a hands-up has its own satisfaction, of course. But even as you progress a little voice at the back of your head whispers ‘There has to be a better way’.

Mahlatse Kabi is a senior Investment Manager of the Mineworkers Investment Company

Source: Sunday World

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