Denel employment – the numbers game


State-owned defence industry conglomerate Denel’s R71 million profit for the 2012/13 financial year was assisted by the implementation of cost saving measures and restructuring, and this will continue to contribute to continued profitability.

The cost saving measures were, in at least one instance, harsh, with more than 400 specialist aircraft technicians being retrenched.

Overall, employment across the group in the current reporting period stood at 4 219 – 497 less than the previous financial year.

The biggest retrenchment, in terms of Denel business units, was at Denel Aviation where 390 people lost their livelihoods. This is ascribed mainly to the non-renewal of an aircraft maintenance contract between the SA Air Force and Aero Manpower Group (AMG), a division of the unit.

The second biggest loser of personnel during the year under view was Pretoria Metal Pressings (PMP), the Pretoria West-based specialist munitions manufacturer. Here 229 people were retrenched.

Missile and UAV unit Denel Dynamics retrenched 51 people during the period under review with Overberg Test Range the only other business unit that saw retrenchments – 11.

Denel Land Systems, now with Mechem under its wing, added 57 to its personnel numbers, while Denel Aerostructures personnel strength grew by 14.

Two of Denel’s three associated companies – Rheinmetall Denel Munition and Turbomeca Africa – also increased personnel levels during the year under review. The German/South African venture added 78 to its personnel numbers while the gas turbine joint venture welcomed 25 new people. The remaining associate company, Cassidian Optronics, now has 272 personnel on its books, as opposed to the 277 during the previous financial year.

Overall, in the Denel group, its technical staff including scientists, technicians and artisans make up the single largest personnel group at 2 408. This is 367 less than in the previous financial year.

Engineers, also a vital component of the group’s overall personnel mix, account for 388 employees, seven less than for 2011/12.

The second largest group of Denel employees, by type, is administrative staff with this year’s head count standing at 402, a big 146 less than for the previous reporting period.

Senior management and management staff number 370, down by three on last year’s tally.

Denel says it views people as the key driver to business success. “Denel has created an environment that attracts and retains skills that are critical not only to our business, but to the country,” Group CEO Riaz Saloojee said during the release of the company’s annual results earlier this week.
“We will continue with our efforts to create a more diverse workforce, meet and exceed our employment equity targets and ensure adequate participation of black-owned businesses in our procurement and supply chain networks,” the company said.
“Our emphasis on training and youth development from high school to tertiary education levels are starting to show results through a growing pipeline of internal skills. Our approach is to ‘grow our own timber’ through the allocation of bursaries to deserving learners and students, offer internships and extensive mentoring programmes to develop, nurture and retain our talent.”

Denel Board Chairman Zoli Kunene said that the company’s investments in education through the schools support and bursary programmes, as well as the internship programme are a critical part of Denel’s contribution to development and nation-building. “You will notice in the Annual Report that we spent more than R46-million during the year under review on skills development,” he said.

R10-million was spent on Youth Development during the last year, while two-hundred-and-fifty apprentices and 827 learners benefitted from these programmes. A total of 77 bursaries were awarded, most in the engineering field.