Last month South Africa's deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka again acknowledged the urgent need for the country to acquire and develop scarce skills in order to meet its growth targets. The current skills shortage is causing nightmares for numerous South African managers. When skilled employees leave a company, HR departments get ready to run the recruitment marathon in an anxious attempt to successfully find replacements with the same skills for the same price.
The government identifies the shortage as being most acute when it comes to engineering, technical and planning skills. According to a separate IDC study, South Africa’s IT sector is also particularly affected. The study goes on to show that by 2009, the gap in people with advanced technology skills such as security, wireless and IT telephony will be as high as 30,4%.
To directly address and remedy this situation, EOH has created a new talent sourcing division aimed at providing highly skilled professionals to companies needing flexible individuals with a high level of competence.
“The idea of creating EOH Interim Talent was born from the exasperation we observed among our clients facing a situation where they could not find the appropriate skills to match their level of expectation,” says Johan van Jaarsveld, MD, EOH Interim Talent.
EOH Interim Talent controls a portfolio spanning across EOH’s various consultancy areas, including financial consultants, project managers and IT managers. The professionals hired have a profile that combines a high level of competence and experience with a personal desire to prioritise quality of life.
The selection process is strict. “We test candidates to evaluate their technical skills and experience. After this initial screening, we assess candidates’ values to ensure there is a match with the EOH philosophy and culture. We do not want to body shop,” explains van Jaarsveld.
He says that some of the future recruits will come from within the EOH Academy, sourced internally and externally. He says that they will be trained and skilled according to the needs of the market. This could include certifications in some of the industry leading applications like Hyperion Mercury and major ERP systems. With EOH Interim Talent to embrace the same philosophy as the EOH Academy, recruitment and the training of PDIs will be a priority. The future strategy will also see recruits benefiting from a full employee package, including UIF, skills development levy and annual leave.
EOH Interim Talent already has an existing portfolio of customers from among the other EOH divisions who will use and benefit from its capacity as a resource provider to address fluctuating workloads. “We expect to increase our external base of customers and bring it to 70% of our activities,” says van Jaarsveld.
He says that hiring sub-contractors will enable companies to create a flexible buffer during times of employee flux, disruptive or rapid growth, and continuous operations in a disaster recovery scenario or unplanned vacancies. Van Jaarsveld is confident EOH Interim Talent will distinguish itself from traditional labour brokers by providing well balanced individuals, adhering to the EOH ethos, who can be immediately operational even in the most critical situation.