Wiseman Khuzwayo

The affirmative action wage premium for black people in South Africa is now 23.1 percent above their white counterparts, according to the Adcorp employment index for June, released yesterday.

The report says the premium for black females is now at 36.4 percent.

Loane Sharp, a labour analyst at Adcorp, said Asians and coloureds earned 2.7 percent and 7.3 percent less than whites, respectively, for equivalent levels of skills, qualifications, experience and on-the-job performance.

He said since much of the required information was not recorded or readily available, Adcorp was able to obtain it only for 1 604 permanent placements for the 12-month period from June 2011 to May 2012, on which the analysis is based.

He said when figures were dissected by gender, Asian and black females earned 3.1 percent and 15.5 percent more than their male counterparts, respectively, while coloured and white females earned 25.2 percent and 20.6 percent less than their male counterparts, respectively.

Sharp said: “It is important to stress that as the data is not consistently available over time, it is impossible to say whether the affirmative action wage premium has been rising or falling over time.”

But Adcorp would continue to track and report on these figures in upcoming editions of the employment index.

Sharp said the wage premium of affirmative action candidates was related to the employment equity legislation. But this would conflict with a law now before Parliament, which legislates equal pay for equal work.

“This will increase the wages of whites and create further wage inflation. This shows the drafters have not thought this through properly. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing,” he said.

Adcorp is a listed human resources group.

Adcorp said employment in South Africa fell sharply at an annualised rate of 2 percent in June, following an even higher decline in May of 3.1 percent.

It said job losses in June amounted to 31 781, bringing the total job losses for the past two months to 82 520.

Adcorp said most sectors, apart from wholesale and retail trade, and all occupations, except managers and professionals, reported a decline. All categories except the informal sector reported declines.

Adcorp’s index on informal sector employment rose 0.2 percent, representing the 12th consecutive monthly rise.

The sharpest declines in jobs took place in agriculture (minus 12.5 percent), transport (minus 8.6 percent), mining (minus 8.1 percent), plant and equipment operators (minus 4.7 percent) and construction (minus 4.7 percent).

DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the job losses showed the government’s economic policies were not working.

He said there were five things that the government needed to do to promote economic growth and job creation: implement the youth wage subsidy without delay; improve education so that people had the skills to find jobs or start businesses; promote entrepreneurship, especially among the youth; provide efficient and effective infrastructure to promote economic growth and investment; and lower taxes in key areas to put more money in people’s pockets.