Skills development 'tops BEE scorecard'

Fifty-nine percent of the private businesses surveyed in Grant Thornton's annual International Business Report, feel Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is an important issue in terms of winning new business. This is a sharp decline from the 70percent recorded last year.

Fifty-nine percent of the private businesses surveyed in Grant Thornton's annual International Business Report, feel Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is an important issue in terms of winning new business. This is a sharp decline from the 70percent recorded last year.

A sector analysis revealed that 69percent of the construction industry and 68percent of the services industry believe BEE contributes to the attraction of new business. However, only 53percent of the retail sector and 52percent of the manufacturing sector share this belief.

Tony Balshaw, managing partner of Grant Thornton in the Eastern Cape said: "The construction and services sector's clients insist on procuring services with businesses who have good BEE credentials.

"In many instances they supply large corporate clients who wish to be seen as delivering on BEE. The retail and manufacturing sectors are less impacted by BEE as they sell directly to consumers who are more price driven, than BEE sensitive."

Businesses employ a variety of strategies to achieve their BEE targets. The most popular strategies are developing people internally and the fast tracking of key employees.

"There has been a shift in corporate thinking with regard to BEE. Ownership is no longer foremost on the BEE scorecard. There is now a stronger emphasis on skills development," said Balshaw. - I-Net Bridge

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