How Black Graduates Are Adding Value To Corporate South Africa

We are expected to prove ourselves, to perform at our highest abilities and be competent from day one.

19/12/2016 04:57 SAST | Updated 19/12/2016 04:57 SAST
Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images
Joseph Munyambanza, a student from the Democratic Republic of Congo gets dressed before the African Leadership Academy (ALA) graduation day ceremony in the school in Honeydew, west of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Entering the job market comes with a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. The workplace has expectations far exceeding those of black graduates in our democratic dispensation. We are expected to prove ourselves, to perform at our highest abilities and be competent from day one. The unemployment rates and tough economic circumstances makes it hard for the employer to focus on orientating and integrating new black graduates into the workplace.

More focus is put on producing results and maximizing profits and avoiding risk. Black graduates entering the corporate space are thus required to settle quicker and without much assistance.

Employers are concerned about employing graduates that already understand the 'culture' of the businesses in which they enter. They are required to 'fit in' and 'add value' immediately as a way of being part of the fabric of the business. No time is allocated for graduates to disrupt, question or to be creative, it appears that such moments or conversations are at the luxury of the board of directors who craft the discourse.

Frankly, the new black graduate hardly has patience; as it seems as if voice is being silenced and they suffocate in the corporate space; soulless, harsh and insensitive. However, this can be changed if black graduates focus equally on their job description as to their self-care, in order to excel in executing each task with excellence. Taking self-care seriously is crucial for a balanced professional lifestyle. It allows for better performance and a deeper sense of belonging to the self, in turn to society.

As black graduates in corporate South Africa, we need to have confidence in our value and worth in advancing our economy. Understanding the extent to which we play a vital role in economic growth and skills development. We bring to fruitfulness the ideals of diversity, multiracialism and co-existence given our brutal past of unfair labour practices and infringement of entrepreneurial endeavour.

We, as black graduates entering the corporate space represent a generation sensitive to injustices but fuelled with potential to create an inclusive economy that rewards hard work and ethical behaviour. Businesses must take our perspectives with sincere interest and channel our energy towards the collective benefit and empowerment of our unequal society.

We must constantly have a sense of community amongst ourselves and not distance our progress from where we come from. Our biggest opportunity is the possibility for each of us to drive corporate social investment in the companies we are employed in. To develop programmes sustainable and impactful in our communities.

Patience, kindness and resilience ought to be our priority virtue that we add to corporate South Africa.