Graduate development programmes and satisfaction of graduates in two large South African organisations.
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Graduate development programmes have increasingly become part of South African businesses in order to acquire and retain the best talent pool. However, there is a great need for research in this area in South Africa. The current research study is a replica of McDermott et al’s (2006) Irish study, contrasting organisations that have a graduate development programme in place against those that do not. The current study was undertaken to assess satisfaction levels of graduate development programmes from a sample of graduates (N=63) from two large South African retail organisations. A survey questionnaire was administered and four interviews were conducted with the graduates. The findings of the research indicate that graduates, who have been part of a graduate development programme for 13 months or longer, showed dissatisfaction. Many attributed this dissatisfaction to non-recognition for the job, a lack of feedback on their performance, inadequate responsibility with tasks, a lack of prospects for advancement, underdevelopment of competencies, poor salaries, supervisors not understanding their skills requirements for the job and poor job security. In addition, the following job features were viewed as important contributions that an employer can offer graduates: “stimulating and challenging work”, “good opportunities for advancement” and “good salary and benefits”. This research study also provides significant recommendations for organisations wanting to implement, or currently utilising, a graduate development programme