White men still given preference in the work place - Oakley-Smith

Referring to a recent statistics by the South African Labour Force, Terry Oakley-Smith managing director at Diversi-T says white men are still being given preference in the work place, and that corporate still has a long way to go.

In terms of recruitment, white men make up 42.10 % of that 100%, African men make up 17.9% and where you really see the small numbers are unsurprisingly for women, but African and colored women particularly, white women still doing very well in fact, white women sort of third.

Terry Oakley-Smith,Managing Director at Diversi-T

Given the Employment Equity Act and the fact that white woman are part of the designated group, many organisations have gone the white woman route, they see the white woman perhaps as the lesser evil than having to go and really do what the act demands, which is redress.

Terry Oakley-Smith,Managing Director at Diversi-T

White men received 38.8 % of the promotions last year, white women 16 percent, African men 14%, in spite of employment equity....

Terry Oakley-Smith,Managing Director at Diversi-T

Speaking on the issue of meritocracy, Oakley-Smith says while there are many hard working white men, they are also recipients of privilege.

She says like most humans, white men have a natural affinity toward people who look or sound like them.

There is a very good opportunity for white men to seek out other white men, and in the business environment for example if somebody comes in for an interview, the white man walks in and there is already an assumption that he can do the job.

Terry Oakley-Smith,Managing Director at Diversi-T

Whereas, the black person or the woman has to start off by dealing with those issues, having twice as hard to prove herself or himself before the foot is even in the door.

Terry Oakley-Smith,Managing Director at Diversi-T

She also touches on the challenges faced by disabled groups.

So what is it besides their privilege that gives white males the upper hand? What can marginalised groups learn to begin to build social capital that will allow them to do business?

Oakley-Smith says there is no need to mimmick white men and that it's time to create a new style of doing business in South Africa.

Here are a few pointers mentioned during the discussion by Oakley-Smith, as well as 702 callers.

  • It's very important to be brash - go up to the person you don't know, say who you are, and have your business card ready.
  • Same status contact - build contacts between one another.
  • Take a risk

Click on the link below to listen to the full discussion....

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