I have, to all intents and purposes, been unemployed since the beginning of 2006. Naturally, I’ve not just sat around and moped – I’ve walked around quite a lot too. During my job search period, I’ve attended 64 interviews with 61 rejections. Of those, 58 have been directly based on the colour of my skin. I have now (arrogantly, I concede) nominated myself as a world authority on rejections.
I hasten to add that I am not in any way unique. There are literally hundreds and thousands of white males on the wrong side of 45 (in my case 50) who are brimming with experience and qualifications and who have an enormous lot to offer industry.
But amongst the chief rubbers of salt into the unemployment wounds are those poxy recruitment companies who lack the courtesy to acknowledge one’s application. Moreover, these are the morons who insist on mailing you with allegedly available positions – many of them obsolete (like my skills, apparently).
A most convenient example is an application I sent to Abacus Recruitment (Johannesburg) on 19th May 2010. I also made two telephone calls, one before and one after my email requesting that the relevant recruiting officer kindly contact me regarding a request for further information. Needless to say, no email and no telephone calls have been received to date. Will I follow up? No, if I had to do that to every one of the 400 odd applications I’ve sent out, my telephone account would equal Zimbabwe’s national debt.
Now here’s another side of this much devalued coin.
Someone of my acquaintance, who works in the telecommunications industry, told me of yet another way in which this BEE BS is negatively impacting the economy.
Eleven people from their department were put on training for a certain piece of networking equipment. The cost of this course is approximately R20 000 per delegate – including exams.
During one of the practical sessions, it became painfully apparent that at least two of the delegates did not have an inkling of the very fundamentals of networking theory (a pre-requisite for employment in this company, mark you). The result was that the whole class was kept back while an attempt was made to assist these people, and the course ended before the entire syllabus could be completely covered – putting the rest of the delegates at a disadvantage.
As a consequence, the two delegates (who were evidently employed primarily on their BEE status) were extremely demoralised at their inability to keep up with their colleagues, as were the rest of the delegates might have to repeat the course in order to be fully prepared for the exam.
So let us examine the cost:
|Normal cost to company||BEE-biased cost to company|
|11 people x R20k = R220 000 for course||11 people x R20k x 2 (repeat course) = R440 000|
|1 week of time away for 11 people||2 weeks of time away for 11 people|
|Team more cohesive||Team more fragmented|
|Higher morale||Lower morale|
|Team better equipped to execute tasks||Team remains essentially the same|
|Customer service levels rise||Customer service levels remain unchanged or drop|
|Customers stay and increase||Customers leave for competition|
|Company’s revenue rises – possible job creation||Company’s revenue declines – resulting in job losses|
Now, I’m all for redressing the inequalities of the past – but how stupid do you have to be to doggedly pursue a policy that all but those who dribble excessively and/or occupy government positions concede is plainly not working? I guess that level which says a shower and beetroot prevents/cures HIV.