Original Research

Factors relating to the attraction of talented early career academics in South African higher education institutions

Dorcas L. Lesenyeho, Nicolene E. Barkhuizen, Nico E. Schutte
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a910 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.910 | © 2018 Dorcas L. Lesenyeho, Nicolene E. Barkhuizen, Nico E. Schutte | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 February 2017 | Published: 25 June 2018

About the author(s)

Dorcas L. Lesenyeho, Global Innovative Forefront Talent, North-West University, South Africa
Nicolene E. Barkhuizen, Global Innovative Forefront Talent, North-West University, South Africa
Nico E. Schutte, Global Innovative Forefront Talent, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: South African higher education institutions (HEIs) are facing significant challenges in attracting talents to academic positions.

Research purpose: The main objective of this research was to determine factors that will attract early career academics to South African HEIs.

Motivation for the study: Currently there exists limited research on factors that attract early career academics to HEIs as preferred employers.

Research approach, design and method: A qualitative approach was adopted for this study; semi-structured interviews were conducted to gain data. The study participants comprised of 23 academic staff members from various merged South African HEIs.

Main findings: The findings show that nine themes are related to the attraction of early career academics to HEIs: career development and advancement, opportunities to make a contribution, employer branding and prestige, job security, flexible working hours (work–life balance), intellectual stimulation, innovation, opportunity to apply skills and autonomy.

Practical/managerial implications: The results also challenge HEIs to develop a superior employer brand with a strong employee value proposition (EVP) that would attract, develop and reward early career academics for their work efforts.

Contribution/value-add: The study provides important practical guidelines that could assist HEIs to attract talented early career academics and become an employer of choice.

Keywords

career development; early career academics; higher education institutions; talent attraction

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