Skills attraction and retention

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The mining and construction boom in the recent past that has resulted in the shortage of managerial, professional and technical skills seems to be coming to an end. In addition, the global economic slowdown that followed the sub-prime mortgage crisis and consequent job losses means that the shortage of skills referred to above will show signs of improvement. However, this shortage of skills was experienced for the greater part of the year and the group has had to implement strategies and programmes to mitigate the effect of the skills shortage.

With the global economic crisis, there is likely to be more skills becoming available in the market generally and the skills shortage is likely to ease.

Over and above the payment of sign-on bonuses (in certain cases), Anglo Platinum has several initiatives in place designed to attract skills:

  • Section engineers drive – in conjunction with the graduate intake programme, this initiative was a huge success. The relevant vacancy rate was drastically reduced from 32.8% (22 vacancies) to only 5.9% (four vacancies). This was largely a result of the introduction of a Retention Bonus package. As a result, resignations dropped to only 12% in 2008 (45% in 2007).
  • HDSA-focused placements – for 2008, Anglo Platinum achieved a 68% rate on HDSA placements across the disciplines, through head-hunting and recruitment drives.
  • Various recruitment campaigns focussing on critical and scare occupations were successfully conducted.
  • Talent referral – this initiative was implemented across the Group in September 2007 and encouraged employees to be part of attracting talent to the Company. To date there have been a total of 32 appointments as a result of employees’ efforts.
Attracting artisans

An artisan recruitment drive was launched in 2006 where critical trades (riggers, fitters, boilermakers and electricians) were focused on. This alleviated some of the shortages but it was still necessary to expand the drive beyond South Africa’s borders.

Another recruitment drive, launched early in 2008, targeted the four critical trades. With sign-on bonuses for artisans, vacancy rates started to come down in 2008 and stood at 8,4 % at year end. There was also a strong focus on accommodating artisans who recently completed their apprenticeships.

Fabian Mace operating a press.

If employment is successful, the next hurdle is retaining the employee. To achieve this, the following interventions are in place:

  • Acknowledging valuable employees – employee gatherings take place at least once a quarter. These gatherings are held to recognise employees who have made a significant contribution to their function to share knowledge and to network.
  • Work-life balance – this encompasses a range of interventions including one-on-one meetings with all employees in the talent pool.
  • Retention risk analysis incorporating retention and exit interviews conducted on all talent pool employees.
  • Recognition and reward – recognition trophies given to talent pool employees during the one-on-one work life balance meetings.
  • Introduction of a range of facilities to enhance the employment experience at Anglo Platinum including allowances for working in remote areas, gym facilities, loyalty programme, improvements to the employee share option scheme, a concierge service, improved catering facilities, sanitation and housing upgrades.
  • Sign-on and cash-retention bonuses.
  • Improved training and development programmes.

Skills shortages impacted negatively on production reducing output at Lebowa, Twickenham and BRPM mines (see volume 1 Business Report for details).

Our employment equity status shows that Anglo Platinum is making satisfactory progress towards achieving the equitable representation of designated groups across all occupational levels and categories of the workforce. As required by the Employment Equity Act and its amended regulations, the company submitted a consolidated employment equity report for the 2008 reporting period (ending 31 May 2008) to the Department of Labour and the summarised detail is provided in the table.

The Company has achieved 27% equity representation at top management level while at the senior-management, middle-management and supervisory levels it has achieved 29%, 46% and 64% equity representation respectively. The Group achieved 44% representation at a management level against the mining charter’s target of 40%.

At the end of 2008, 10% of our employees consisted of women, meeting the mining charter requirement of 10% by 2009. However, the company still experiences challenges in attracting suitably qualified women in the core mining disciplines.

The Group’s employment equity strategy, typified by special interventions such as attracting high-potential candidates, employee-development programmes, mentoring, shadowing, fast-tracking and talent-pool management, continued to deliver positive results towards the achievement of our targets.

In order to ensure that candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit, a recruitment ratio of 70:30 in favour of historically disadvantaged South African (HDSA) candidates is used as a guiding principle. In 2008, 81% of our bursars consisted of HDSAs and 17% of females. Furthermore, 23% of bursars who started on the scheme in 2008 came from communities within 50 kilometres of the company’s operations. The Group remains committed to fast-tracking the development of high-potential employees from historically disadvantaged groups, in order to increase the talent pool and pipeline in support of business growth and to facilitate compliance with the mining charter. Through focused fast-tracking programmes, the Group is currently developing 432 high-potential black business leaders for senior positions in the future.

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