Talent Management Challenges for Women in South Africa

  • Linda RonnieEmail author
  • Alison J. Glaister
Part of the Sustainable Development Goals Series book series (SDGS)


Sustainable Development Goal 5 seeks to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. This is further supported by South Africa’s Employment Equity Act of 1998 and its promotion of affirmative action measures designed to achieve a diverse workforce. This suggests a key role for talent management (TM) approaches and, more importantly, the management of female talent in organisations located in South Africa. Through data collected from seven focus group interviews with women across 58 South African organisations, we find little evidence to suggest that organisations are seeking to manage their female talent and/or develop bespoke and exclusive TM practices. When TM initiatives do emerge, they terminate once gender parity is achieved. The result is a myopic and instrumental approach that only breeds further inequity and talented female turnover. Managers should seek to create a long-term focus on talent development and consider the strategic implications of their talent pipelines. Female workers are urged to seek mentors, challenge organisational practices that reinforce ‘traditional’ segmented approaches, develop their networks and encourage a talent mindset in the workplace.


Female workers Talent management South Africa Gendered workforce 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of YorkYorkUK

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