What is it like to be a South African woman in the workplace? Let’s find out. Career Junction conducted a survey with 1500 working South African women to find out how their workplace is structured, and how they experience it. Here are the results:
At 25%, most of the participants in this survey are between the ages of 30-35, meaning that they are more advanced in their careers and would presumably be holding mid-level positions. Following this is the 26-29 age group (18%), and 21-25/36-40 both at 14%. For the participants, the majority (27%) hold bachelor’s degrees as their highest qualifications, followed by 25% holding diplomas and 20% with certificates. 39% hold advanced skills in their fields. 26% have solid skills, 22% have expert skills and 14% have basic skills.
Fields and funds:
Out of the women surveyed, the majority (21%) work admin related jobs. The second most common field is finance (13%), followed by customer service (11%). Another crucial factor to consider is what women are earning. The most common income (before deductions) is R10-R15k and R20k-30k (14% report earning these respectively). 11% are earning R1-R5k, and the third most common earning salary is R15-20k. 9% are earning above R50k. 37% of the women surveyed earn below R10 000 a month before deductions. 38% earn above 20k a month.
The workplace experience:
In terms of senior management gender ratio at work, 65% report that there are more male senior managers, 19% say there is an equal split, and only 16% say there are more women holding senior management roles in their workplace. Thus, whilst there has been advancement in women’s roles in the workplace, there is still much work to be done in advancing South African women in the workplace and their career trajectories.
Most respondents indicated that they were unhappy with their current jobs as well as senior management. More than 50% of participants have been in their current job for less than 3 years; perhaps having followed advancement opportunities. Unfortunately, 40% of the women surveyed reported to be very unhappy with their jobs, 40% are not sure and 20% are very happy. This is quite a small percentage of South African women in the workplace that are satisfied with their jobs. 44% are very unhappy with senior management, 43% are not sure, and only 13% are very happy. Many women indicated that they would like to be in an executive position one day, however, 59% seem to feel that men have better opportunities for advancement than them. 63% of women feel that career advancement is not solely based on work performance.
While only 22% of participants feel that there is an opportunity for advancement within their organisations, gender wasn’t necessarily the only obstacle that stood out as preventing women from advancing in their careers. The key reasons highlighted by the women surveyed include a balanced mix of skills, gender and experience. Many respondents felt that they had been overlooked regarding a pay raise or promotion due to their gender and nearly 60% feel that the subject of diversity at work needs improvement. However, many of the South African women in the workplace surveyed are still hopeful. When asked if they foresee continued improvement for women in the workplace, women seemed to lean slightly more towards a ‘yes’ or a ‘maybe’, compared to a ‘no’.
What has been your experience as a South African woman in the workplace? Let us know in the comments below!