Debunking the myth of job hopping amongst black professionals in corporate South Africa

Nceba Ndzwayiba, Wilfred Isioma Ukpere, Melissa Steyn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the facticity of the dominant construction of black professionals as job hoppers that derail workforce reforms in corporate South Africa particularly in leadership roles. Design/methodology/approach: Historical literature review was conducted to trace the genesis of the alleged racialised job hopping phenomenon. Melissa Steyn’s (2015) idea of Critical Diversity Literacy was also applied to critically examine the implicit power dynamics, strengths, limitations and biases involved in the construction, valorisation, circulation and contestation of this dominant narrative. Findings: The authors found the popular racialised job hopping phenomenon to be an overgeneralisation that lacks credible evidence. It ignores multiple variables that are crucial in studying employee turnover behaviour. Research limitations/implications: The paper is conceptual. It is mainly based on critical literature reviews. Empirical studies could be undertaken within this domain in the future to confirm or disconfirm some of the findings of this paper. Practical implications: These allegations are emblematic of the endemic systemic racism in South Africa’s corporate labour market that remains an enclave of whiteness. Social implications: Race is a highly contentious phenomenon and a major field of social inequality. Black bodies confront numerous challenges that undermine their human rights and opportunities to participate meaningfully in society and the economy. This paper calls for organisations to play an active role in healing racial divisions and building social cohesion by critically examining, challenging and changing discourses that propel inequality. Originality/value: By addressing one of critical socio-economic and political issues confronting the world’s most unequal society, the paper hopes to stimulate healthy debate that can bring real change for marginalised groups in workplaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1266-1282
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Social Economics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2018


  • Black professionals
  • Corporations
  • Hobo syndrome
  • Job hopping
  • Turnover behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Debunking the myth of job hopping amongst black professionals in corporate South Africa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this