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31 January 2013

Ten of SA’s top companies have unanimously claimed to be positive about the
country’s business outlook for 2013 in a recent anonymous survey. But their optimism
was tempered by the familiar concerns dogging local businesses.

Top of the concerns cited were labour unrest and acquiring and retaining suitable
experienced and qualified employees.

In the latest Jack Hammer Corporate Survey, conducted among South Africa’s top
corporate employers by leading executive search firm Jack Hammer Executive
Headhunters, entities polled represented the financial services, engineering and
manufacturing industries. Responding to the question: “Are you positive about the
business outlook for 2013?” all respondents gave an unqualified “Yes”.

Asked about the biggest challenge facing their business in the coming year,
businesses listed a diverse range of factors, indicating the complexity of running
large private sector corporations (which globally have similar challenges) within
the unique South African context.

Issues such as regulatory changes, global growth, talent retention, and consumers’
reduced spending power are common in almost all developed markets; whereas labour
unrest, high unemployment and political uncertainty are over and above these,
top-of-mind concerns for most business leaders in South Africa.

Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, MD of Jack Hammer says despite the familiar concerns, it was
an optimistic sign that without fail, companies expected 2013 to be a positive year.

“It’s less about any major changes in the global or domestic markets – because
frankly macro-economic threats still loom, and domestic growth is still only
marginal – and more about a relative positioning to where we stood in early 2012
with tremendous worldwide economic uncertainty” Goodman-Bhyat said.

But she added it was important to address continued hostilities between labour,
business and government.

“The level of concern about labour unrest is quite alarming, as is business’ lack of
faith in all parties honouring existing agreements. Moreover, with limited or no
apparent solutions to these issues coming forth from any quarter, there is
significant anxiety around the country’s ability to tackle political and social
challenges, to ensure an environment conducive to investment, growth and job

Interestingly, whilst Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters was seeing an increasing
flow of South Africans living abroad returning to the country since the global
financial crisis in 2008, the marked up-tick of labour unrest and perceived
political uncertainty of late 2012 seems to have stemmed the flow”, notes


ISSUED BY: Lange 360

For more information contact:
Debbie Goodman-Bhyat at Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters on 021 425 6677
Mervyn Dziva at Lange 360 on 021 448 7407

About Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters
Jack Hammer provides a fresh approach to executive headhunting by cutting through
the ordinary. They have achieved this over the last decade by using strategic
research to drill down and expand their market intelligence beyond the obvious and
source the real gems of talent. The knowledge gained in the process enables them to
give clients a competitive edge by ensuring they find the right executive talent –
in a manner that is both responsible and ethical.

Debbie Goodman-Bhyat

Debbie is the founder and Managing Director of Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters –
rated by the Business Day as one of SA’s leading executive search firms.

Jack Hammer, with Debbie at its helm, has become a cornerstone of the South African
headhunting sector, continually and vocally aiming to raise the bar in the local
executive search industry. As a result, in 2011 Jack Hammer was selected as the
exclusive South African partner of IRC Global Executive Search Partners, a top 10
global search firm, and has now extended its global footprint to more than 70 cities

Debbie is a founding member of the Cape Town Chapter of EO – a global
Entrepreneurship Organisation with more than 8500 members worldwide.

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