ORIENTATION: South African organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of
attracting, developing and retaining top talent, especially management employees.
RESEARCH PURPOSE: In an attempt to help organisations with retaining talent, this study focused
on career success and identified specific factors that influence the career success of managers in
the South African work environment.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Organisations need to establish favourable organisational conditions
and human resource practices to retain their management employees. By identifying influential
factors for the career success of managers, this research may help organisations to focus more
accurately on their retention strategies for management employees.
RESEARCH APPROACH, DESIGN AND METHOD: The present study used a qualitative research design
that followed an exploratory approach. A non-probability purposive sample of 24 senior
management employees was selected from two financial institutions in South Africa. Qualitative
data was collected by means of semi-structured interviews and the verbatim transcriptions
were analysed by content analysis.
MAIN FINDINGS: Managers identified various factors that impact on their career success. One can
distinguish ‘external’ factors (e.g. political and economic climate and business environment)
from ‘internal’ factors (e.g. individuals’ personal attributes, skills and education).
PRACTICAL,MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Individuals should focus on the internal contributing
factors, whilst organisations should manage the external contributing factors more effectively. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: Specific South African factors that influence the career success of
managers should be included in future retention strategies. From the findings it is suggested
that both the individuals and organisations can implement strategies to ensure career success
and thereby help retain the top talent in organisations.