The Challenges and Opportunities faced by Indian and Coloured Managers in South African Financial Institutions

Gappoo, Jennisha
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Increasing pressure is being placed on South African business to understand and leverage their diverse workforce and to rectify past racial inequalities. . The signing of the Financial Charter (2003) and the enactment of the Employment Equity Bill (1998) have mandated financial institutions to effectively engage and nurture blacks, including Indians and coloureds, at management levels. This research investigates the challenges and opportunities faced by Indian and coloured managers in two banking institutions. In particular, the research investigates the unique experiences that Indians and coloureds face due to their ‘middleman minority status’ during Apartheid. The research is centred on the challenges and opportunities presented by the government’s affirmative action programmes, as well as by career advancement prospects, the use of power in the workplace, and social networking. A key finding was that affirmative action is assisting Indian and coloured managers much more in the (external) recruitment process than in the (internal) promotion process. A key opportunity that emerged was for Indian and coloured managers to better draw on white male mentors as this appears successful when carried out. Other findings included the views held by Indian and coloured managers interviewed. They perceive themselves to work harder than their white counterparts to prove themselves; they find it more difficult to use their positions of authority as easily, and hence have to use logical persuasion more often; they view social networking negatively, even though it is valuable for career advancement; and they view the main driver of their future success to be their individual hard work and ambition, discounting any external influences. Investigating the opportunities and challenges faced by Indian and coloured managers will allow South African companies to better understand these racial groups and to more effectively leverage their diverse workforce.
Banks and banking , Equal opportunities , Employment equity , Affirmative action