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Transformation and empowerment

We define transformation broadly to include economic transformation to reduce wealth inequality, diversifying our employee profile to reflect the demographic profile of our client base and societies where we operate, transforming our distribution channels and operations in line with technological and regulatory developments, and most importantly, transforming everything we do in line with the changing needs and preferences of our clients.

We are committed to transforming our South African businesses to meet the diverse needs of the country’s population. This will enable us to remain relevant and ensure the long-term sustainability of our business. One of our key strategic focus areas is therefore to create a workplace environment that is conducive to attracting, developing and retaining equitable, skilled and diverse talent. Over the last ten years, there has been a significant shift in the Group’s complement which reflects the country’s changing population.

In numerous studies, diversity – both inherent (i.e. race and gender) and acquired (i.e. experience and cultural background) – is associated with business success. As part of the transformation agenda, we have identified the need to increase the ratio of black and female representation at middle and senior management.

To this end, the attraction and retention of these key demographic groups are important, and progress against this is tracked and monitored at a group and cluster level on a quarterly basis.

Due to this focused approach, the percentage of black middle management increased to 46% from 42% in 2016.

The percentage of black senior management increased to 34% from 33% in 2016.

Gender diversity, in particular, is receiving an increased focus globally. In light of this, there is a specific focus on gender diversity at Group and cluster level. Sanlam, like our global counterparts, sees a marked drop off of women between middle and senior management levels. During 2017, focus groups were held with male and female employees to identify reasons and possible barriers for this drop-off. From these discussions we further identified a number of actions required to accelerate gender diversity at Sanlam. These actions will proceed into 2018.

The following table reflects Sanlam’s employee composition as at 30 December 2017 (permanent employees and fixed-term contractors in South Africa):

Sanlam’s approach to creating a diverse and inclusive environment includes the employment of people with disabilities. One of the mechanisms used to attract people with disabilities is the learnership programme offered at Group level. The learnership programme has proved to be successful and has increased the complement within this demographic group. We have further seen pleasing retention once a formal programme has been completed, as reflected:


In light of South Africa’s legacy of discrimination, employment equity (EE) is an important driver of inclusive wealth distribution and improved financial resilience for wider society. This is a strategic focus in South Africa and the societies in which we operate – reflected in the transformation enabler of our strategy.

In South Africa, achieving our EE targets is a critical aspect of transformation. The following reflects our EE targets versus actuals for 2017.

We achieved our EE targets due to each cluster implementing specific initiatives to meet the numerical goals at each occupational level. Some of these initiatives include:

  • Mentorship of black talent
  • A focused and targeted approach that aligns recruitment with the national economically active population (EAP) statistics
  • Development programmes to ensure a pipeline of skilled talent with a specific focus on black employees

Read more here about each cluster’s contribution to transformation and empowerment.

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