An evaluation of recruitment and retention practices for scarce and critical technical skills in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport.
Zwane, Miranda Cindy.
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the recruitment and retention practices for managing critical skills in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport. The study was motivated by a continuous staff turnover especially regarding scarce and critical technical skills where newly appointed employees only remain in the Department of Transport for periods not exceeding five years and then resign or move to the private sector, municipalities or non-governmental organisations. Amongst other things the study sought to determine what methods could be used to recruit and retain technically skilled employees in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, determine shortcomings related to the Occupation Specific Dispensation for employees with technical skills, determine factors that contribute to the attraction and retention of technically skilled employees, and determine whether or not measures to ensure appropriate recruitment and retention of staff, especially scarce skills, are in place. The study employed a qualitative research approach and used focus groups and interviews as data collection methods. The study revealed that the main reason for exits of technical scarce skilled employees in the Department of Transport is linked to remuneration where the Department of Transport is unable to offer competitive salaries provided by the private sector and municipalities. In addition, frustration around plateauing was highlighted. The study also revealed that the Department has struggled to recruit and retain skilled technical employees for many years due to recruitment and retention strategies that are not competitive. Furthermore, the study revealed that the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) determination has had a negative impact on the salary, benefits and career progression of employees where retention mechanisms were noted as not flexible within the OSD. The study recommended that the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) should open discussions on the review of the Occupation Specific Dispensation determination. The study recommended that the recruitment strategy should be flexible regarding remuneration for people with critical skills. In addition, it is recommended that the current recruitment policy needs to be reviewed so that it can accommodate some outstanding issues. In conclusion, the study recommended that future studies be conducted on how the government working conditions for line managers and employees with scarce and critical technical skills should be structured and comparing the government departments’ policy on recruitment and retention with municipalities considering they form one sphere of government.