Equality and Inequality Dual

Wages, race and gender converge tragically for black women seeking work in the South African economy.

Perceptions about BEE repeatedly divide us, yet here’s the obvious truth:

BEE has not resulted in improved wage conditions for black women. Because…



Division Feeds Discrimination

The Employment Equity Act protects from conventional forms of discrimination such as race, gender, religion and disability – but not wage discrimination.

Wage discrimination enters the labour market when employers adopt pay secrecy during recruitment.

Pay secrecy establishes positions of employer power during wage negotiation. The person who knows more about compensation has the upper hand.

Kagiso Media / East Coast Radio

Kagiso Media and East Coast Radio adopt pay secrecy
Kagiso Media and East Coast Radio don’t apply fair recruitment practices

East Coast Radio advertises vacancies without being upfront about pay yet considers itself to be a virtuous employer.

When applicants apply, they must enter their own pay expectations without knowing what the East Coast Radio salary range is.

East Coast Radio gains information and power advantages while subjugating applicants human right to rational information influencing their job selection and wage negotiation.

When East Coast Radio places itself at such an advantage, they don’t foster notions of equality but lead us to question if distributive justice exists within the organization or if offers are race and gender biased?

Payslips are Discriminatory Dompasses

Kelly Recruitment, Nurturing Futures, People Solved, O’Brien Recruitment usually advertise without including pay and demand pay slips / cost to company from job seekers, potentially discriminating against those who refuse to provide them.

Unfair labour practices allow employers to assume monopsony power over workers and control how people negotiate professional worth in the labour market.

The Competition Commission of South Africa discriminates against job seeker rights and diminishes human rights in labour markets.

The Competition Commission uses extraordinarily hostile recruitment devices to obstruct equality, dignity, respect and fairness.

S23.1 of the Constitution enshrines labour market fairness, yet citizens are unable to defend their right to fairness as they fear reprisal and can’t afford legal expenses.

The Employment Equity, Labour Relations and Basic Conditions of Employment Acts don’t protect job seekers right to fair wage negotiation when participating in recruitment processes.

Acts and different policies lack coherence and pro-poor direction allowing for unfair wage patterns to be reinforced, usually most damaging for women and black people vulnerable to being coerced into accepting unfair offers.

Inclusive and Pro-Poor Recruitment

Given our Constitution, a labour market principled on inclusion and access would make pay information compulsory in job adverts.

Job seeking comes at a cost to applicants who must rationally evaluate economic opportunities. Job advert pay transparency is a human right and attracts larger pools of relevant and suitable candidates.

Recruiters can argue there’s no need to increase pools of applicants as plenty of desperate people apply, given our current economy.

Yet they also state ‘it’s so difficult to find the right ONE as there aren’t many with the right skills and competencies without considering their obviously flawed advertising.

Recruitment pay secrecy

Secrecy discourages women and savvy candidates.

Suppressing information doesn’t attract the best. Secrecy communicates abuse of power, likely running throughout the organization.


People work for pay, it’s not a sign of greed to expect to know how much a job pays, knowing is a right.

Besides, global studies since the 1960’s have found that job adverts attract a larger pool of quality candidates when compensation and other employment information is included in adverts.

Information Exclusion is not pro-poor nor democratic

Is recruitment about talent or surveying rival employer wages?

If job seekers are transparent about their pay information while prospecting employers are not upfront about wage offers, they place themselves at a negotiation disadvantage.

If you’re applying for a new job because you’re hoping for a raise, your luck may run out if you disclose all your pay information upfront.

The higher your pay expectations, the sooner you may be dropped from a candidate pool.

Refusing to submit current cost to company or recent payslips could reduce access to employment.

If you submitted to the Competition Commission’s unfair recruitment process, you either gave up your right to fairness or you couldn’t be considered.

Employer pay secrecy and job seeker wage transparency are unfair.

Black Women Worst Off

Females are purged first in the economy, outranking males in terms of vulnerability.

Women are paid less and disempowered both socially and economically in South Africa.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said secrecy must be banned:

Including salary details in job adverts would help women to see that jobs are in fact at their level and give them an idea of where they should be negotiating from to progress their pay.”

Sign our petition, make it fair!

Part 3:

Part 1


Lilenstein, K., Woolard, I., Leibbrandt, M. (2016). In-Work Poverty in South Africa: The Impact of Income Sharing in the Presence of High Unemployment. A Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit Working Paper Number 193. Cape Town: SALDRU, University of Cape Town

Global Forum on Competition ‘DOES COMPETITION CREATE OR KILL JOBS’ Contribution from the United States, 20-Oct-2015

Wage determination in perfectly competitive labour markets

Quarterly Labour Force Survey Q2:2018


leonie hall

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