Factors influencing the retention of non-executive knowledge workers in the South African banking sector

Singh, Yashmita
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In an ever-increasing complex global workplace, corporate companies are faced with the challenge of retaining those staff which are considered to be vital to ensuring survival of the company as well as providing the company with its competitive advantage. Banks are no exception to this challenge. Whilst there is some literature around talent retention in a South African economy versus an overseas one, little is known about the retention factors in a South African context for retail banks. The factors important for the retention of non-executive knowledge workers within the banking industry in South Africa is explored in this study, as well as whether any differences exist between different demographic groups. This will provide insight into and enable both people managers and executives within the banking industry to implement practices and effective strategies for sustaining long-term competitive advantage. The data for this research was collected via an email questionnaire utilising a Likert scale to obtain ordinal data pertaining to the factors, and some biographical questions to obtain more insight into the demographics of the population. The key findings are as follows: important retention categories for knowledge workers are employee-employer relationships, remuneration, culture and other non-monetary benefits such as flexible working hours. Some of the individual factors are: open communication, recognition from direct supervisor, competitive pay structures, performance related pay, culture of learning and training, career advancements, fair and equitable treatment and technology to do the job. Each factor is of different importance to different demographic groups, for instance, whilst performance related pay is of importance to both males and females, it is higher up on the scale for males than females. Another example is the factor Home Life/Work balance which is stronger for the age group 21-30 than for the others. The questions per factor was based on the literature review with the researcher asking addition questions about factors not included in the research study. These additional factors include special leave for religious holidays (for religions other than Christianity), and loyalty from the institution. Based on the findings of this research, the researcher concludes that although most factors identified from the literature review were important to a South African banking environment as well – the level of importance placed on each was different to an overseas market.
MBA thesis - WBS
Retention of staff, Knowledge workers