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Signium women under African skies: Remember how far we’ve come

As South Africa celebrates Women’s Day 2023, Annelize van Rensburg, global Chair of Signium and Director of Executive Search at Signium Africa; Michelle Moss, Director, Assessments at Signium Africa; along with Signium Africa’s client, Sheila Motsepe, Group Executive: Human Capital, Development Bank of Southern Africa, shared their experience, strength and hope for women leaders in business.

Speaking on Women’s Day, it’s clear that all three leaders believe that the common belief that women are more risk-averse than men still exists, but impacts business women in different ways.

Says Van Rensburg, “As mothers and natural caretakers, women may be somewhat more risk averse than men, as their first thought would be for their children. However, we must ask if this is nature or nurture as there are always exceptions to the rule.”

Moss concurs, noting that risk aversion is a character trait that can’t be ascribed to one gender or another. “If we remove all those who are inherently risk averse by nature, we will likely see a very different picture.”

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In the footsteps of South Africa’s resilient youth

On 16 June, South Africa observed Youth Day and honours the youths who rose up against Apartheid in Soweto on 16 June 1976; while remembering the more than 500 young people, including school students, who lost their lives.

It is against this backdrop of youth resilience that Karien Boshoff and Matheko Waleng, both Principals at Signium Africa, guide interns at the company and engage with young candidates where they can and share their experience.

Says Karien “Firstly, there’s a perception among our youth that they must have a university degree to be employable. This is not true and we encourage young people to look at the various alternatives open to them, such as internships, online studies that provide certification in sectors such as technology, and apprenticeships where they’re available.”

Importantly, she notes, actual hands-on experience is invaluable. “We often meet newly qualified young people who don’t see the value in starting on the bottom rung of the office ladder once they have their degree. That is not a helpful mind set.”

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13 lessons from 13+ years in the executive search business

Hard to believe that just 13 years ago, our executive search and leadership consulting firm, Signium Africa was a small, work from home start-up called Talent Africa. From the beginning, our company was rooted in excellence and a desire to bring the best in executive search and placement to South Africa.

Rebranded as Signium Africa, our roots have held fast to what has kept us grounded, trusted and adaptable. In our quest to constantly add value while reaching for exceptional “hire quality”, we look back on valuable lessons learned across 13 years.

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Don’t let your pre-frontal cortex melt down before you take a break

Noting that the prefrontal cortex is the region in the human brain involved in planning complex cognitive behaviour, decision making and moderating social behaviour, Annelize van Rensburg, Director of Executive Search at Signium Africa and Chair of Signium Global Board, has a simple message: Don’t let it melt down....

“The human brain is generally a robust piece of equipment and its abilities are staggeringly remarkable,” says Van Rensburg. “That is, of course, unless it’s overloaded with pressure caused largely by ongoing and untreated stress.”

According to Van Rensburg, while the festive season brings joy and togetherness for some, for many it is a time of added tension and worry too.

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Social media screening: What happens in cyberspace never goes away

Social media can be a useful tool for potential employers, as valuable insights into the public and online personality of a candidate can be gleaned from past and current behaviour shared on a public platform. Annelize van Rensburg, Director, Executive Search, Signium Africa, looks at social media screening from an employer and employee’s perspective, and what both should know.

A recent global study found that 67% of employers screen job candidates through social networks, which could give a candidate a leg up - but could also disqualify them from a dream job.

However, people who sign up for social media platform use are warned about the type of content the various platforms find acceptable and that they should secure their own privacy.

Just as those in the talent placement industry understand each platform’s privacy settings, individuals should undertake their own social media audit periodically. Everyone with a mobile phone is effectively a “citizen journalist” and will often share information about themselves or colleagues that would not be widely known were it not for social media.

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