This file photo shows a group of DA supporters at the Union Buildings to hand over a memorandum supporting the implementation of a youth wage subsidy. Photo: Thobile Mathonsi

Johannesburg - While many South Africans are desperate for work, the harsh reality is that the bulk of these people cannot pass a simple screening test, according to Lulaway, a firm that provides direct access to screened entry-level and semi-skilled workers.

Errol Freeman, the managing director of Lulaway, said the absolute minimum many companies require for employment nowadays is a matric certificate, and this includes positions for security guards and cashiers.

He said, however, in the real world, many of these candidates could not answer the simple maths equations required at basic screening tests.

“It seems that people of a ‘higher calibre’ that can easily pass the screening tests tend to think that there are too many employment opportunities that are below their station in life,” Freeman said.

“It seems as if getting your foot in the front door and seizing opportunities has been forgotten. A large proportion of people who do not have employment fail to understand that many large companies and corporations look internally first and promote from within.”

He said there were many jobs to be had, with Lulaway within its framework of clients having entry-level employment opportunities for 500 to 600 people monthly on average in Gauteng alone and the same in the Western Cape.

“Finally, jobseekers with matric but no university degree often feel that entry-level jobs that do not require particular skills are beneath their station,” Freeman said.

To illustrate his assertion, he gives an anecdotal example of an internationally well-known fast food company looking for many people to work in various positions at its Gauteng outlets.

More than 3 000 SMSes are received in response to a small recruitment advert in a local newspaper. About 10 percent to 15 percent or 300 people respond to a screening invitation and actually arrive at the Lulaway centres.

Of these, 15 percent pass the screening tests, leaving a total of 45 hopefuls to be sent to the fast food chain to begin the interview process.

Thirty percent of these people cannot make it to the interview, for whatever reason, leaving the company with 31 interviewees.

A further 20 percent of the interviewees do not take the necessary documentation, for example, the matric certification, and six more are immediately disqualified from the interview process.

Of these, some do not make it past the interview stage, but let us assume 20 get hired.

Fifty percent of hired people do not make it past the first two weeks, leaving 10.

Just 0.33 percent of the original 3 000 interested parties become gainfully employed and get a foot in a company that promotes from within.

Freeman said: “If 100 people (with matric) apply for a specific job, how does one know which 10 people are most suitable to employ? The answer is reliable screening.

“It becomes much easier for companies to select the right people if the correct calibre of people are sent for interviews in the first place.”

Meanwhile, Guarding SA, said the number of crimes committed against business was constantly climbing, and a substantial portion of this problem could be attributed to poor standards in the security guarding segment of South Africa’s R50 billion private security industry.

Bernardo Luis, the operations director at Guarding SA, said problems ranging from guards falling asleep on the job to those working in cahoots with organised crime syndicates and turning a blind eye to goods that were brazenly transported out of companies’ warehouses contributed to the 7.5 percent increase in business crime recorded during the year to April 2012.

He said an influx of fly-by-night companies in the guarding sector, which turns over R18bn per year and is the largest part of the industry, was severely compromising the delivery of guarding services.

In order to undercut rates charged by reputable companies, these firms did not employ suitable security guards and often paid below the minimum stipulated for the industry, thereby increasing the chance of employees being tempted to commit crime.

Luis said a polygraph testing company was approached by a security company for assistance with a theft problem.

“Polygraphs were used and it was established that a security guard that was holding a position of trust had recently been released from prison for armed robbery.

“This security officer was operating with a valid certificate from the Private Security Regulatory Authority, which is believed to be someone else’s.

“Had pre-employment polygraph tests been done, this problem would have been avoided,” he said.

Business Report