Where to apply for your dream job

01 July 2010 Gareth Stokes
Gareth Stokes, FAnews Online Editor

Gareth Stokes, FAnews Online Editor

Are you looking for the perfect job? Today’s model employee expects more from a company than a monthly pay cheque. Although gross remuneration remains a draw, to be truly happy they want the right location, pleasant work environment and a range of non-salary benefits. There are a number of workplace surveys to assist jobseekers in finding employment utopia. The latest is from online recruitment company, JobCrystal (, which recently published the findings of its second comprehensive survey into South African employee preferences.

The survey polled approximately 100 000 individuals online to reveal the best companies to work for, and the companies at which employees are happiest working.

Happy and best aren’t the same

According to the second JobCrystal Happiness Indicator, released 10 June 2010, you’ll find South Africa’s happiest employees at The Auditor General – where 72.6% of employees said they were ‘comfortable’ or ‘happy’ in their current role – Shell Oil (70%), CSIR (69.8%), Softline Pastel (69.8%) and Anglo Platinum (69.1%). Meanwhile, companies like KPMG – where 75% of new registrations said the company was the ‘best’ or ‘excellent’ to work for – Sanlam (71%), Momentum (67%), Pick ‘n Pay (67%) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (66%) – were recognised as the best companies to work for. It’s interesting to not the number of financial services companies in the top five – with two auditing firms and a couple of life insurers cracking the nod! The happiest employees in the insurance sector work at Metropolitan (63%), Momentum (61%) and Discovery (57%).

The report concludes that ‘happy’ and ‘best’ aren’t necessarily the same. “The low correlation between companies where employees are the happiest and those rated the best place to work demonstrates an important takeaway for companies,” observes JobCrystal. Employees working at the ‘best’ company based on responses to certain questions might not meet their individual goals and requirements in order to be truly happy. Employees rate their happiness on the potential to achieve individual career ambitions rather than the general company environment. As the respondents are mostly jobseekers (employed and unemployed) the website concludes the survey winners have many active and passive jobseekers in their ranks.

The first JobCrystal Happiness Indicator, released in April 2010, showed that fewer than half of South African employees were happy in their role. “It’s clear companies that focus on gaining staff buy-in for company-wide goals and objectives, at the expense of meeting employees’ individual career goals, are going to find it difficult to retain talent,” said Kevin Laithwaite, JobCrystal managing director.

Revolutionising recruitment

For the most part, sector leaders on the ‘happiest employee’ survey, scored between 60% and 70%. The banking sector was a notable exception, with only 57% at Standard Bank, 56% at Wesbank and 56% at Absa Bank indicating they were extremely ‘happy’. And those were the top performers in the category. Employees at the country’s public sector giants seem unhappy relative to other sectors too. Transnet only managed 60%, with the SABC (56%) and Eskom (56%) trailing by some margin. There certainly seems to be a correlation between poor management and employee happiness. Each of the abovementioned firms has been in the news for acrimonious suspensions and resignations among senior executives of late.

JobCrystal collects data form all new candidates registering on its talent management portal. Employees are asked how happy they are in their current position (miserable, frustrated, comfortable, happy) and also how they rate their employer (the best, excellent, fair, poor, awful) when they register. This information is then used to improve both recruitment processes and the hiring success rate for companies. The company focuses on candidates in the R150 000-plus annual remuneration category and charges a flat fee per successful placement, with no upfront charges.

Editor’s thoughts: There you have it – you could be working for an excellent employer – but still feel unhappy in your job! Surveys like this more often than not focus on large employers. Do you prefer working at a large corporate or cosy family practice? Add your comments below, or send them to


Added by Compton, 02 Jul 2010
Learn to spell check your articles, and check the grammer while you at it!
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Added by Pixie29, 01 Jul 2010
I work for a medium sized company. What makes me happy at my current employ is the fact that you get recognised for what you achieve within the company. Many companies that I have worked for have taken it for granted and just pile on more workload. This company appreciates and pushes the employee in the right direction to achieve their goals for themselves and in return benefits the company. Happy employee - happy employer. It is not all about the money. Obviously, we go to work to get paid. But inevitably, you are going to look elsewhere if you are not happy with the environment, the work that you are doing or with your bosses. You are going to bide your time until something that is more to your liking comes along.
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Added by Bob, 01 Jul 2010
Brilliant - collect data from people unhappy with their jobs consequently registering with an employment portal and then infer how the rest of employees at the company feel! Did these guys work at Stats SA before this exercise?
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Added by Mark, 01 Jul 2010
Bob has a point. Statistics are generally the preserve of a bunch of bigotted individuals who manipulate data in order to suit their own nefarious objectives. Such surveys as this are similarly abused. I'd suspect that the Maslow effect is at work here - it's only those companies which fulfill their employees basic need of a (better than) fair salary which will ever be considered by their employees as "good" or "best" and after that they will consider their more hygenic needs such as working environment. Perhaps "good" is a function of salary, and "happy" a function of environment; that's why the two are not necessarily correlated. Those at the top of the "good" poll are probably overpaying their staff!
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