With companies that employ 150 or more people required to file employment equity reports with the Commission of Employment Equity (CEE), the Commission for Employment Equity's 2011/2012 report, released recently found that employment equity is working, but that transformation continues to take place at a very slow rate. This has prompted the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant to table new proposals before Parliament to strengthen the Act in order to speed up transformation in the work place. Nedlac had already agreed to nearly 95% on the proposed amendments to the Employment Equity Act, with the only points in dispute being penalties proposed for those companies that don't meet equity targets. Some of the proposals before Parliament include measures to strengthen the labour inspectorate and a proposal that cases involving discrimination in the workplace be heard at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) rather than at the Labour Court as is practice at present.
Some of the findings of the report include:
- Representation of black people (African, coloured and Indian) in top management in companies and the government had increased slightly - from 28.8% to 30.8% between 2007 and 2011.
- Representation of white people fell by just 2.8% - from 68.2% to 65.4%.
- Foreign nationals make up the remainder of top management positions - with their representation having increased from 3.1% to 3.9% over the period.
- The increase in Coloured and Indians in top management, from 3.9% to 4.8% and from 6.1% to 7.5% respectively, helped push up black representation in top management.
- In top management, the government performed the best - with representation of black people (coloured, African and Indian) ranging between 56.1% in the Western Cape to 98.6% in Mpumalanga.
- In the private sector black representation in top management ranged between 33.9% in KZN to 18.1% in the Western Cape - with black Africans enjoying the highest representation in companies in Mpumalanga at 20.7%.
- White people continue to dominate the top management of most industry sectors, except for the community, social and personal services sector where black people make up 57.7% of top managers int he sector.
- Though black people still make up a disproportionally small percentage of top management, the percentage of skilled black people in the workplace has increased dramatically between 2007 and 2011 - from 63.5% in 2007 to 74.7% in 2011.
- Most of the increase in the percentage of black skilled workers came from black Africans who represent 73.6% of the EAP (Economically Active Population), increased their share from 44.1% to 57% of the workforce.
- The representation of coloured people (12.8% to 11.5%) who make up 11% of the EAP and Indians (6.7% to 6.2%) who make up 3.2% of the EAP, dipped slightly.
- Black people, however, make up 87.9% of the economically active population (EAP), meaning they are still significantly underrepresented in skilled positions.
- Amongst provinces, Limpopo companies hire the highest proportion of skilled black Africans, at 75,9% of the workforce.
- The Western Cape companies are the least representative among the provinces in terms of race, with 30.1% of skilled positions in the workplace held by white people - who make up less than 20% of the province's population.
- In government, the best performing provinces are Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga in terms of race, however the report points out the need for Limpopo and Mpumalanga to improve their representivity of coloured and Indian males.
- Among skilled workers the workplace has also become more balanced between men and women in the last four years - as skilled women workers have increased from 37.3% in 2007 to 44.4% in 2011.
- Despite this, only 19.1% of women make up top managers - with white women making up two thirds of these women.
- The percentage of people with disabilities in the workplace increased from 0.5% in 2007 to ).8% in 2011, but still short of the target of 2%.