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Priorities of the Zimbabwean Employee

Priorities of the Zimbabwean Employee

Remuneration is one of the primary things employees take into consideration when they choose employers. Job design and opportunities of learning are among other things which employees consider. However, during these tough times where cash is scarce, remuneration is at the forefront. Therefore, employers can use their remuneration packages to attract the top talent they require. In a bid to help employers come up with the right remuneration package, we – Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd – conducted a survey that prompted employees to establish their priority areas when spending their money.

Identification of these priority areas can guide employers when setting remuneration packages such that employee’s do not need to worry about them. Instead, employees will focus on their work leading to improved organisational efficiency.

In our survey, there were 830 respondents from different walks of life. We prompted each respondent to detail how they prioritise their spending by comparing seven primary areas where employees spend their money. We included an “Other” option as the eight priority area to take into consideration other areas where employees spend their money. Overall, Zimbabweans’ priorities are as follows (from the most important to the least important):

Note that the bars in the diagrams in this article represent how much each area is prioritised. The longer the bar the more prioritised an area is.

We went on to compare priorities by several demographic variables. Among these is gender. Our analysis revealed that men and women set their priorities similarly. Although unexpected, the same was observed for employees in rural areas and urban areas. This implies that when providing remuneration to your employees, you need not worry about differentiating your employees’ packages basing the differences on gender and location.

Marital status induces differences in how Zimbabwean employees set their priorities. See the diagram below.

The differences in priorities observed between groups with different marital statuses may be explained by differences in the size of family (number of children) which employees have to support. Single – never married employees need not worry about school fees as much as married and divorced employees do since they generally do not have any (or as many) children of their own to support.

We also investigated if differences in culture brought about by differences in ethnicity translate into differences in priority areas. Members of the African ethnic group prioritise food over rent and accommodation while White employees prioritise utilities over rent and accommodation. This may be as a result of the relatively larger extended family which members of the African ethnic group have to support. Members of the African ethnic group had an average of four extended family members they support whereas the other ethnic groups had an average of at most three.

As expected, employees who own houses worry more about utility bills than rent whereas those who do not own houses have rent as their highest priority.

An employer may consider the composition of their workforce’s marital status and house ownership status. This will allow them to structure employee pay and provide benefits that are relevant to each employee’s needs. However one should bear in mind that although, in theory, there may be advantages in differentiating pay, socially or legally, it may not be plausible. For example, differentiating remuneration packages basing on differences in gender or ethnicity may lead to legal action.

We also uncovered an interesting insight. Despite a few differences, generally, priority areas are the same for all income brackets. In other words, Zimbabwean employees worry about the same things although their budgets are different.

It is worrying that medical bills and other health related expenditure were consistently ranked as number six out of the eight areas that we assessed. This may be as a result of the hush economic conditions that leave employees worrying only about their daily upkeep. In other words, Zimbabweans only seek medication when sickness befalls them. The implications of these findings for human resources practitioners is that employers who ensure that their employees have a house, cater for school fees and pay enough for people to be able to afford the basic food stuffs are likely to be able to attract the talent they require.

For the full report – Financial Well-being Survey Report: Priorities of the Zimbabwean Employee, contact Memory Nguwi. He is the Managing Consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number 077 2356 361 or email: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

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