SA groups struggle in search for senior staff

International News: Clare Dowdy + 44 171-439 4222

South African design groups, riding on a wave of increased activity in the region, are struggling to recruit quality staff to cope with the extra work.

The dearth of experienced designers is seen as a result of the republic’s years of isolation and the poor education of the black population.

While there are plenty of keen juniors around, there are few middleweight and heavyweight designers or freelances to fill in, says Sampson Associates managing director Jeremy Sampson.

Trademark managing director Clive Gay does not see the problem of recruitment as peculiar to South Africa, but adds: “80 per cent of our population is under- educated. There are few or no black designers in commerce.”

“We have been looking for staff since the end of October,” says Sampson, who wants to expand the group by 50 per cent.

Trademark, which has offices in London, New York, Mexico City and Aukland, is looking to double its South African staff to up to 50, says Gay.

The shortage is particularly felt in packaging firms, while architects and interior designers have not seen their work pick up so quickly, says Sampson.

Sampson Associates has designed the identity for Capital Alliance Group which has brought in Anglo America’s JCI group.

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