Black high flyers migrating back to corporate world


After a rush of skilled black people left the corporate world to take advantage of BEE deals in smaller, private companies, many are heading back to the corporate world because of lack of real money making opportunities.

Debbie Goodman, Managing Director of Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters who has been in the business for 8 years and placed some of the top people in SA?s leading corporates says, "I?ve noticed a marked pick up in highly skilled, black professionals seeking placement back in the corporate world after realising that BEE-related business opportunities were not all they were cracked up to be.'

Goodman says that many black professionals chose to move out of corporate jobs into entrepreneurial set-ups, with the intention to create wealth by accepting an equity stake in exchange for their presence as BEE partner.

"The thinking was that due to the massive demand for companies to be empowered, there would be endless business opportunities for real wealth creation.

"But the reality has proved different - there are just not enough good empowerment deals for all these new BEE entrepreneurs. While some of these deals (the high profile ones that we all hear about in the press) have been wildly successful, many other would-be investors hoping to cash in have been left with crumbs.

"Also, many companies looking for BEE credentials as a solution to all their woes are not well managed and didn?t have great business nous to start with. And no matter who joined them, they were always going to struggle.

"It has proved that having a BEE partner is not a panacea for an inherently unsound company.'

Goodman notes that black professionals have typically spent a year to eighteen months out on their own before deciding to move on.

"What we are seeing now is the deflating of the opportunistic BEE bubble and these black professionals are accepting they will not make a fortune overnight and are heading back to the corporate world.

Goodman notes that she has placed several black candidates back into corporate South Africa and has several more who are considering good offers.

"It will take a bit of time for the market to reabsorb these people back into big business but there is always room for quality people with demonstrable ability.

"And companies are prepared to pay premiums for talented black staff - sometimes as much as 20 - 30% over the going rate. With a buoyant market and sturdy economy, it makes pretty good sense for the disillusioned to get back in to the corporate machine.'