Confusion over tax amendment to pension funds

Sandra Olivier - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

retirementSouth Africans, generally, do not save enough for retirement. A large proportion tends to cash in some or all of their retirement savings when changing employers. This is evident in the low savings rate of the country – as various studies estimate that less than 10% of people can retire comfortably.

To increase the level of retirement savings, Government believes tax incentives can play a valuable role and they’ve been working on policies to change the landscape and reform retirement-planning. There are a number of changes that were intended to come into effect next year and the landscape around these changes is a complex one. Increasing longevity means one’s savings need to last longer and government’s proposals around retirement reform aimed to encourage investors to act in their own best interests.

However, the proposals caused wide scale panic. Thousands of people, who feared being forced to forego cash pay outs from provident funds when changing jobs, quit their jobs to access their money before the new laws take effect. It emerged earlier this month that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene agreed to a two-year delay after Cosatu successfully lobbied Treasury.

A number of service providers sadly have already spent a significant amount of time and money to be ready for the change next year, by implementing changes to their administrative systems only to hear they will now have to wait until 2017.

The delay will also mean that contributions to provident funds will not benefit from the same tax deductions enjoyed by pension fund contributions, until the law takes effect. Provident fund members will not be required to convert two-thirds of their savings into retirement annuities and will still be able to cash them out as a lump sum on retirement.

Payroll departments can’t ignore these ongoing changes in the retirement industry and it’s now more than ever necessary to stay up to date with legislation to avoid what could be an administrative nightmare and unnecessary costs.

If you require Finance staff that can help you manage the coming changes in your company, we can assist. Communicate Personnel represents a range of exclusive, skilled candidates across all levels of the finance sector including senior executive financial positions. These include banking, insurance, mining, financial services, FMCG and management. Contact us today!

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Credit: by Stuart Miles

Balancing Personal and Work Life

Mallisa Watson - Monday, October 27, 2014

Life Balance Harmony Meter There is nothing more important than you. Above everything and everyone else around you, you need to make yourself a priority in your own life. Yes, your family, work colleagues and boss rely on you emotionally, financially and professionally and that is why it’s important that you have a balanced personal and work life.

Our bodies and mind can only handle so much work and pressure. Though you enjoy and love what you do, if your work becomes your life you will eventually burn our mentally. And this can lead to you burning professional and personal bridges with the people in your circle. So if you want to prevent this from happening, we have just a few of many ways you can balance out your personal and work life so you can be more effective in both areas in the long run.

First things first
Figure out why you are procrastinating on getting your life balanced out. Once you’ve recognized the reason behind all of it is, you can start by drawing up your blue print and see which areas needs more attention in your life.

Identify the conflicting convictions
It is important that you understand there is a problem when work life and personal life are not balanced. Unless you recognize that the imbalance is a problem, it will not be possible for you to seek equal measures. These are some questions that you could ask yourself if you need a guide.

1. Do you find that you carry more and more work at home, making it a leeway of your office?

2. Can you split your job and home responsibilities?

3. Do you have anytime to pursue your hobbies?

4. Is your work bringing you joy?

5. Are you having a definite career growth plan which is practical in accordance with the path you are presently walking on?

After taking this test, you will have a clear view on where you stand with your personal life. Now we will have a look your work life and what you can do to find that balance.

Understanding your job
Develop a broad perspective. Consider growing yourself by upgrading your skill. Doing that will help you decide if you want to stay in your current field.

1. Know the goals. Knowing why something must be done can be very helpful. Having too much on your plate can be a relieve if you understand the project goals. It is also easier to discuss how to balance tasks if you have the whole picture.

2. Understand expectations. Make sure you understand your job description and what management expects from you. One example of this is after-hours communications. Are employees expected to check e-mail in the evenings or on weekends? Do you have to carry a cell phone just in case they need to contact you? What are the policies covering off-hours? If you take responsibility for meeting communications expectations, you should be able to take time off without feeling guilty afterwards.

Our profession is full of people who have found ways to achieve a balance that works for them, providing career satisfaction and personal fulfillment. It can be done. However finding that balance is key!

So if you are have come to a point where you have your personal life in check but the only thing missing is the ideal job to balance out your life, we can help you with that.

Communicate Personnel has a number of exciting new career opportunities which includes Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobsSupply Chain jobs and Freight jobs. Visit our website and apply today!

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Credit: by Stuart Miles

Africa needs to improve its aviation infrastructure

Mallisa Watson - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

AirportThe state of commercial aviation infrastructure in Africa varies greatly from region to region and from country to country. Southern Africa is on the fore front of the other African countries when it comes to their airports, regulations and air traffic management. There is also a good local aviation industry. North Africa is well established. East Africa is emerging strongly. The other regions (although not all the countries in them) currently lag behind. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s no room for improvement.

To have effective commercial aviation sectors, these African countries must have the proper infrastructure. Addressing these challenges could significantly unlock the industry’s potential for future growth.

This is one of the challenges facing the development of commercial aviation on the continent. “Infrastructure in commercial aviation is a three-legged stool -airlines, airports and air traffic management - with a good regulatory system on top,” explains Boeing International VP for Africa Miguel Santos. “All need to be good in order to have a good commercial aviation environment,” he added.

Challenges to the African aviation industry
The rapid expansion in Africa’s aviation industry is hampered by a number of factors. Poor record of safety and security, investment in education, lack of adequate resources and infrastructure, distance and limited connectivity, lack of regulation and government actions are among the main constraints the industry is facing. These constraints add to competition and high operating costs resulting from surging oil prices.

Safety and security challenges
Safety is the most pressing challenge facing the aviation industry in Africa. A few years back, the average number of air traffic accidents was nine times higher than the global average. The frequency of accidents stems largely from inconsistency in the implementation and enforcement of internationally accepted safety standards and practices. Increasing the level of safety should be a key priority for the development of the African aviation industry. The African authorities have endorsed an African Union backed plan aimed at addressing deficiencies related to aviation safety and security and strengthening the regulatory framework. Accordingly, the International Air Transport Association jointly with the International Civil Aviation Organization and other organizations have committed to supporting the Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan of the African Union. The plan encourages African governments to foster regulatory oversight through the adoption of globally accepted safety and security standards.

Inadequate infrastructure
The air transport industry faces various challenges including poor airport infrastructures, lack of physical and human resources, limited connectivity, and lack of transit facilities. Although substantial progress has been made during the past decade, Africa still lags behind other regions in terms of maintaining standards such as law enforcement, emergency services and education. And physical facilities and installations needed to operate, manage and monitor a system with the intention that the structures are permanent. For example, when power lines or communication towers are built, the goal is for them to stay in place indefinitely.

Lack of regulation and government actions
Despite the growing awareness of the role that the aviation industry could play in the development of the continent, the industry is still not the top priority of African governments. More, despite increased understanding of the African aviation industry and the growing presence of foreign companies, some African governments are still unwilling to open their skies fearing foreign competition could undercut national airlines, some of which are short of commercial viability besides being just symbols of sovereignty. These challenges require governments to enhance regulation of management, consumer protection and safety of airlines. Lack of aviation experts and skills, high airport taxes and fees, the weak connectivity and restrictions on transit visas and facilities add to the menu of impediments affecting Africa’s aviation industry.

Opportunities for the African aviation industry
Air travel is essential to the prosperity of Africa as it opens up opportunities that did not exist before. Fostering the African aviation industry may be one of the driving forces of regional integration on the continent. Better connected African countries and regions through a viable air transport industry could be the vehicle that can boost intra-African business, trade, tourism as well as cultural exchange. Developing the aviation industry may also represent an opportunity to ease constant transport problems facing African countries.

Rwanda’s national airline, RwandAir, is expanding rapidly into Africa. “Rwanda is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, with double digits over the past few years. We see ourselves as a key player. We’re hoping to grow particularly through sharpening our connections between East and West Africa” said its CEO, John Mirenge.

Here back at home in South Africa, OR Tambo International Airport was named the best airport in Africa at the recent Skytrax World Airport Awards, held in Barcelona, Spain.

In general, the African commercial aviation sector needs investment in education, infrastructure development, safety and security and regulatory frameworks. Even so, the opportunities for the sector remain considerable, with a growing market from both demographic and economic side.

Looking for a new Freight job? Communicate Personnel is a Freight recruitment company with consultants that specialize in Sales, Road Freight, Courier, Warehousing, Logistics, Production and more. Check out our vacancy page and apply today.

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Credit: by Salvatore Vuono

Discovering your Personal Brand

Sandra Olivier - Monday, October 20, 2014

time to discoverLet’s face it we might love the internet, social media and the era of selfie or we might hate it. One thing is for sure that the world is changing and at the heart of the change is technology. You can pretend it’s not happening or you can embrace the change and use it to your advantage especially in building the ultimate career.

In my previous post I looked at the importance of having a personal brand for you career. Because of the internet today, you have a personal brand whether you like it or not. So what does your brand say about you? What do you want it to say? Think about how you show up, how others perceive you, what you know, and what your online profile says about you. The most important job that you have today is to be the President of your own brand.

Here are some easy steps to help you start building your personal brand to further your career:

Find the real you
You need to develop your personal brand in light of who you actually are. Start by identifying the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your peers. When you strip away the mask, who are you really, and how can you show up in a way that allows your true authentic self to show through?

Others perception about you
Think about other people and the impressions you are making on colleagues and business associates. Take the time to speak with many different people to understand how they perceive your strengths and then use this information as you create your personal brand. This will help you to get to know yourself through the eyes of others, understand your differentiation, and discern what makes you compelling.

Be known for something
Every good brand involves the notion of expertise. Volkswagen are known as the People’s cars. Apple is the most innovative. Durban is the ‘Surf City’. What do you do better than anyone else? What’s your superpower? To find out, think about what’s innate:  what are you naturally good at? Find what your role is, what you do best or that no one else is doing, and find ways to be innovative in your area of expertise.

Live it
This is probably the hardest part, but will pay off the most in the long term. Act in a manner that consistently and constantly promotes the brand you’ve chosen for yourself. Every time you are in a meeting, at a conference, networking reception or other event, you should be mindful of what others are experiencing about you and what you want others to experience about you. Each of these engagements is similar to a job interview – except in these cases you are being evaluated by your peers. Those who know how to live and manage their personal brand will earn the respect and brand recognition in any situation.

Personal branding is no longer an option; it’s a powerful leadership enabler. In order to reach success you need to know exactly what you stand for in the world, and how to stand apart from others, and communicate that competitive difference with confidence and clarity.

If you are looking to move ahead in your career and need help with getting your personal brand out there to prospective new employers, we can assist. Communicate Personnel is a recruitment agency with specialist consultants that will help you connect with new career opportunities, whether it’s  Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Freight jobs or Supply Chain jobs. Check out our vacancy page and apply now!

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Credit: by Stuart Miles

Mechanical Engineers in the Workplace

Mallisa Watson - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Red Cog Leading StockRegardless of the skills shortages we are currently facing in South Africa, engineering is a booming industry in our country. Practically every company that designs and manufactures a product employs a mechanical engineer. But mechanical engineers can also be found in research labs, government, and in other line of works such as medicine, law or teaching.

Mechanical Engineers work in many different settings, most often as a matter of choice and career planning. They differ in the type of workplace, the problems to be solved, and work schedule. Some mechanical engineers work in design centers and headquarters facilities of high-tech companies; some prefer working in the field, and some travel overseas to serve clients and to develop new markets for products and services. There's a good chance that you won't spend all your waking hours sitting at a workstation.

Mechanical Engineers don’t really have a typical day in the workplace. The issues and challenges are numerous and evolve throughout the project. It is difficult to characterize a typical day under these circumstances. It takes more than technical knowledge to be a good mechanical engineer; you need attributes like thinking out of the box, dealing with difficult situations and the list goes on, to compliment your practical ability.

Problem solving mentality
Mechanical engineers thrive on solving difficult problems. These are not only technical problems, mechanical engineers deal with management requirements, unique customer needs, budget and legal constraints, environmental and social issues, as well as changes in technology. It is the mechanical engineers training in mathematics, the sciences, engineering fundamentals, and computer applications that provide them the ability to anticipate and respond to change. For the working engineer, the key is staying up to date with emerging technologies.

Most mechanical engineering jobs require design experience. When a need comes about for a new or better product, companies call upon mechanical engineers to do the job. Engineers have to push beyond the limits of their previous work knowledge and use modern technology to meet project requirements successfully.

Environmental issues
Mechanical engineers can also create the controlled indoor environment that people need in order to work in comfort. Factors such as humidity, temperature and cleanliness of the air in the workplace are monitored, adjusted and controlled by these engineers.

Mechanical engineers are also involved in the social responsibility of engineers and engineering organizations, which includes effective development issues such as:

  • water supply and sanitation,
  • cleaner production and recycling,
  • energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy and clean coal technology,
  • emergencies and disaster preparedness and response including urban security,
  • post disaster and conflict restoration, rehabilitation and reconstruction and
  • engaging engineers in decision-making, policy-making and planning.

Engineering continues to grow in terms of the gender, ethnicity, and national origins of students and graduates entering the engineering workforce.  The workplace constantly changing and one need to have the skill to adapt to different work environments and be able to work with different people from different backgrounds, ages and gender.

Professionalism is supposed to be a given attribute, but fraud and corruption is affecting the ethos of the engineering industry and ultimately on our country. Being trustworthy and not taking bribes are a rare skill to have nowadays. One indication of a true profession is the existence of a code of ethics and a clear sense of professional responsibility and loyalty.
For that reason the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering exists to serve the interests and needs of its members, to advance the science and practise of mechanical engineering, and to promote high standards in the profession.

Are you currently in the mechanical engineering field and looking for engineering jobs?

Do you enjoy solving complex problems as well as spending the day dreaming up solutions? Then let us help you showcase your skills and talent!

We are a specialist recruitment company in the engineering field with available job opportunities in mechanical engineering, design engineering, civil engineering, structural engineering and so much more. Visit our vacancy page and apply now!

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Credit: by nokhoog_buchachon



Previous posts

  1. Confusion over tax amendment to pension funds Sandra Olivier 29-Oct-2014
  2. Balancing Personal and Work Life Mallisa Watson 27-Oct-2014
  3. Africa needs to improve its aviation infrastructure Mallisa Watson 22-Oct-2014
  4. Discovering your Personal Brand Sandra Olivier 20-Oct-2014
  5. Mechanical Engineers in the Workplace Mallisa Watson 15-Oct-2014
  6. Personal Branding, how important is that for your career? Sandra Olivier 13-Oct-2014
  7. Cybersecurity skills in high demand Sandra Olivier 08-Oct-2014
  8. It’s Time For a Brand New You Mallisa Watson 06-Oct-2014
  9. It’s Crunch Time for South Africa’s Economy Mallisa Watson 01-Oct-2014
  10. Motivating employees Sandra Olivier 25-Sep-2014
  11. Management: Decision Making Mallisa Watson 22-Sep-2014
  12. Trans-Kalahari Corridor offers great opportunities for Freight industry Sandra Olivier 17-Sep-2014
  13. Revamping your resume can help your career search Mallisa Watson 15-Sep-2014
  14. Hydropower to be generated from Ingula Sandra Olivier 10-Sep-2014
  15. Potential: Yours, Mine and Ours Mallisa Watson 08-Sep-2014
  16. The IT Talent Problem, more than just Technical Skills Mallisa Watson 03-Sep-2014
  17. Starting anew in your career Sandra Olivier 01-Sep-2014
  18. Internal Audit key to Managing Risk Sandra Olivier 27-Aug-2014
  19. Good Work Relationships Are Key To Your Success Mallisa Watson 25-Aug-2014
  20. Strategies To Cut Procurement Cost Mallisa Watson 20-Aug-2014
  21. Steering your career on the path of success Sandra Olivier 18-Aug-2014
  22. 3D Design changing Construction Industry Sandra Olivier 13-Aug-2014
  23. Frequent job change - good or bad for your career? Mallisa Watson 11-Aug-2014
  24. Women Taking The Lead Mallisa Watson 06-Aug-2014
  25. DevOps: Collaboration and Integration Mallisa Watson 04-Aug-2014
  26. What does it mean to be a Financial Analyst? Mallisa Watson 30-Jul-2014
  27. Using social media in your job hunt Sandra Olivier 28-Jul-2014
  28. Aerotropolis the future for Dube TradePort? Sandra Olivier 23-Jul-2014
  29. Who’s Keeping Time? Mallisa Watson 21-Jul-2014
  30. Green Building: Changing the Way the World is Built Mallisa Watson 16-Jul-2014