” Imagine a world where the success of a business is not just measured in pounds and pence, but includes what it has done to change society for the better forever. Youth unemployment is not limited to one region or one country, it is a global challenge. By engaging the local excluded community in the Shadow Careers initiative, we are opening up engagement and opportunity for young people to participate in the local economy, changing our ecosystem for the better over time,” says Franco Cotumaccio, Founder and Director of Shadow Careers.
The global business services (GBS) industry has grown rapidly in South Africa over the past decade, especially contact centres. It has created thousands of jobs and attracted global companies who want to outsource their customer service to South Africa.
Impact sourcing offers a great opportunity to supply young talent to meet the requirements of this growing global industry. Announced most favoured customer experience delivery location globally for a second time by the Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office CX Omnibus Survey 2022. The business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in South Africa employs over 270 000 people in six cities, of which circa 70 000 serve international clients. This could grow to over 775,000 jobs by 2030, with up to two-thirds of these in the service of overseas markets, according to the McKinsey report.
Shadow Careers focuses on developing and enabling young talent from excluded communities with the goal of reducing youth unemployment in South Africa. With the increasing youth unemployment rate, these programmes are necessary to increase talent readiness and employability and help young people in South Africa reach their full potential. Shadow’s uniqueness emerges from its contact centre role-specific tailored approach. Working with contact centre partners that share their vision to create career focused employment that addresses fundamental sectorial challenges such as retention. For South Africa, it means job creation and increasing the resource pool to include unemployed youth. For global businesses interested in South Africa, it means that they can offshore with certainty.
Shadow Careers are looking to work with more GBS partners this year and hope to create a future where impact sourcing is common practice. If more companies intentionally hire and provide career development opportunities to people who otherwise have limited prospects for full time employment we truly make a meaningful change to society and to business.
In the past 12 months, Shadow Careers has placed 165 colleagues in permanent roles with an average success rate of 95%. Working with a number of like-hearted GBS partners they are looking to double the placements by year end. Aeysha Coetzee-Ismail, Head of Recruitment for Sigma Connected South Africa says “through Shadow Careers, in total, we’ve employed 96 people. Experience is important, and we need to uphold standards, but around 60% of our recruitment has been through impact sourcing and the remainder are people who have all the experience required to work within this industry. We’ve seen higher retention rates against the individuals recruited this way. Over the last 18 months, we’ve been able to retain more than 80% of our Shadow Careers delegates, which is phenomenally higher than the industry standard. These individuals stay longer, and they are more loyal to growing within the business. This means we retain a deep knowledge of a client’s operation within the business.”
Shadow Careers’ role-readiness training centre is located in Mitchells Plain, a township near Cape Town close to where most of the contact centre workforce lives. The initiative is planned to be rolled out across South Africa in the near future. Together with their GBS partners, they plan to place 600 more individuals into permanent careers over the next 12 months.