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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Do companies that hire PhDs as CEOs do better?

"Sasol and Absa head the list of staff with doctorates, but the retailers seem to have an aversion to coneheads in their ranks." continues Rand Daily Mail.

Photo: Rand Daily Mail

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the route to the big bucks lies in a PhD, given the spate of South Africans caught fibbing about having the qualification.

This past week, it was Daniel Mtimkulu, an executive at the Passenger Rail Agency of SA who, it turned out, may not have a German doctorate as he claimed.

Mtimkulu can now claim access to an elite club of such alumni as former ANC spindoctor Carl Niehaus (not a doctor of theology) and Pallo Jordan, who doesn’t really have a postgraduate degree from the London School of Economics.

Photo: Amaleya Goneos-Malka
If only they’d read the research of University of Pretoria academic Dr Amaleya Goneos-Malka. They might then have been less tempted to believe a PhD was the commodity you’d want to fabricate.

Goneos-Malka has spent two years scrutinising the credentials of 1.5 million people from the top 350 companies in SA. Her finding? Fewer than 0.07% of those executives have PhDs — far fewer than the global average.

Dr Amaleya Goneos-Malka, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Pretoria

The blue chips, it seems, just don’t fancy hiring PhDs, largely thanks to dozy human resource officers who consider them “overqualified”. Goneos-Malka argues that this is unacceptable, and has launched a petition — #postgradprotest — to put pressure on companies to “change their policies and open their doors to more postgraduates”.

She says: “Government invests about R645-million each year to produce about 1 800 PhDs, or about R5-billion in the past 10 years. How has nobody stopped to ask where this money is going to?”So which companies are top of the class, and which are the dunces? The smartest of the top 100 JSE-listed companies is Sasol, which boasts 283 PhDs — 0.93% of its workforce of 30 500.

Sasol’s nonexecutive chairman, Mandla Gantsho, has a PhD in entrepreneurship, joining other local leaders such as Implats chairman Khotso Mokhele (a PhD in microbiology), Sanlam CEO Johan van Zyl (a PhD in economics) and Nedbank’s former chair Reuel Khoza (two PhDs, in engineering and law).
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Source: Rand Daily Mail