Ethos is committed to supporting economic growth, meaningful Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment¹ (B-BBEE) in South Africa and the eradication of poverty and inequality. We do this by setting the strategic compass and vision to drive B-BBEE transformation activities at Ethos and at our portfolio companies with our internal processes in order to assist, monitor, and achieve meaningful, sustainable and successful levels of empowerment at Ethos, both internally and externally. We also actively monitor our performance and give specific guidance where there are gaps identified.
Ethos implements strategies that embrace the requirements and ‘spirit’ of B-BBEE, namely by influencing changes on the Boards of our Portfolio Companies and in their C-Suites, prioritising the employment of more Black female professionals into senior roles, supporting skills and enterprise development initiatives, and having specific workshops and engagements with our teams and Portfolio Companies on relevant thematic topics to support implementation programmes. We also focus on embracing diversity and inclusion through targeted initiatives.
We believe that this combination of activities not only supports the South African economy, the government’s economic development policies and our broader stakeholders, but also results in improved performance and returns to our investors.
We embrace the premise of promoting and implementing ‘best in practice’ methodology to Ethos in terms of B-BBEE and firmly believe that our activities enhance social development and economic value.
Furthermore, the company is continually identifying potential partners and supports black-owned and black-women owned suppliers wherever possible.
Ethos is currently rated as a Level 3 contributor under the Financial Sector Codes. Should you require additional information regarding our B-BBEE rating please email firstname.lastname@example.org
A key component of Ethos’ transformation journey is our commitment to hiring exceptional people and developing them across the private equity value chain. Integral to this pursuit is our pledge to optimise opportunities for all our staff and embrace diversity in all its facets.
In 2016, Ethos became a corporate partner to Bain & Co in a South Africa-wide Gender Parity research project.
In collaboration, we considered the hypothosis: Given that the foundational elements to ensure parity success appear to be in place in South Africa, we must ask the question: Why are so few women reaching senior leadership positions in South Africa?
More than 1,000 women and men were surveyed in JSE-listed and private organisations, spanning non-management positions through to board-of-directors level. Bain & Co combined survey data with more than 50 one-on-one interviews and in-depth analyses with several leading South African organisations.
The report presents current perceptions of gender equity in the South African workplace and the deterrents to success that women must confront daily to succeed. It also shares several practical recommendations that society, organisations and individuals can implement to shift the status quo.
The South Africa survey was launched in May 2017 and can be found on Bain’s website: http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/gender-disparity-in-south-africa.aspx
As part of this project, we also surveyed Ethos’ entire staff complement in a ‘deep-dive’ analysis to gain meaningful insights into gender and other issues/opportunities of diversity within our firm.
Subsequently, a comprehensive plan of initiatives, interventions and awareness programmes designed to have a positive impact on women in our organisation and on staff retention, training and development and business performance has been planned with implementation commencing August 2017.
We anticipate an annual partnership with Bain & Co on this and other Diversity projects and opportunities.
Diversity at Ethos
While we view diversity as encompassing many facets (gender, sexual orientation, economic, race, and religion, amongst others) for the coming period we intend to focus on gender and race as two primary measures within Ethos.
We are pleased to note that Ethos has a strong, sustained history of female representation across the Firm averaging 56% of total full-time employees over ten years. However, it is important to note that women represent only just over 20% of our transactors as at December 2016. We certainly aim to increase female representation within this and our leadership team over time.
Racial diversity at Ethos has shown a pleasing shift over the past 10 years; the transition has been steady, in line with team longevity dynamics typical of our sector. Our data shows that over a ten-year period, white staff (as a proportion of total staff) have decreased by 23%. Black staff have increased by 49%, Indian by 91% and coloured by 28%. Over the same period, Ethos’ total staff complement has increased by 35%. However, like gender, we need to better translate these broad successes into our transacting and Value Add teams where currently non-white employees account for 38%.
Pioneering the introduction of meaningful black ownership in our portfolio companies is a priority. Ethos has significant depth of experience and expertise in structuring and creating value from such transactions.
Ethos is proud of the role we play in South Africa, enabling significant direct black ownership participation while delivering quality skills transfer to the empowerment groups we have partnered with.
The significant transfer of business skills that has taken place over the course of our participation in private equity BEE transactions is evidenced by companies where our black empowerment partners have advanced to become established business owners in their own right.
Ethos BEE transactions support the national priority of promoting black ownership. Ethos has an on-going policy of proactively seeking investment opportunities involving sustainable material black ownership and participation. The Ethos Mid Market Fund is a mid-cap investor and also has strong strategic BEE credentials. We actively drive broader participation in portfolio companies because we believe that businesses with diversity are more valuable and more sustainable.
Over the past 13 years, Ethos has contributed to Enterprise Development initiatives that support the growth and development of small black owned businesses. We have also made meaningful contributions to multiple organisations and charities as part of our transformation, social and ethics responsibility.
Ethos continues to provide financial support black staff members and disabled students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We continue to monitor their progress through regular support, consultation and engagement.
Adult Basic Education Training (‘ABET’) provides a foundation for lifelong learning and development with a specific focus on numeracy and literacy.
Ethos has and continues to offer support to our staff members who have participated in the programme since February 2016. In December 2019, two staff members completed and received their Level 4 Numeracy and Literacy certificates.
We are excited that this programme has offered considerably more than improved numeracy and communications skills. Our ABET learners have unanimously expressed their gratitude on how this programme has elevated their confidence, personal development and growth has been beyond their expectations. We continue to explore other learning and training opportunities to further enhance and add value to their job functions and growth within the company.