The group adds that it aims to continue focusing deeply on empowering its employees and the communities in which it operates throughout the continent.

The group was also named Top Empowered Company in the Education and Skills Development category for the work undertaken by the group in primary and secondary school education programmes in communities, skills development and financial education.

Karl Socikwa, Sanlam group executive for market development and sustainability, says, "This is a huge moment for us at Sanlam as this recognition is a testimony to the work we have done to advance transformation in our organisation and across South Africa. We believe that everyone should benefit and participate in the mainstream economy of the country."

According to the awards, the Top Empowered Company: Business of the Year is awarded to the organisation that best demonstrates excellence in all aspects of empowerment and transformation. It looks at the organisation's empowerment status and how it has maintained a consistent Level 1 B-BBEE rating.

Sanlam says that the awards come hot on the heels of the release of the 2022 Sanlam Gauge, a holistic measurement of economic transformation in South Africa — which accounts for all elements of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) — emphasising the group's deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Transformation and empowerment drive
Socikwa adds, "In 2021, 92% of our employee onboarding in South Africa were black employees and 56 were senior black leaders. We are now 49% black owned and 23% black-female-owned, far exceeding industry targets. This sets us ahead of the ownership targets for our industry."

"In 2021, we also became the largest black-owned asset manager in South Africa, via our asset management arm, Sanlam Investments," says Socikwa.

According to Sanlam, currently employing 20 066 in South Africa, 77% of Sanlam's employees are black and 62% are female.

"While we have made progress, we know there is still much work to be done and we will continue to focus on deliberate transformation, particularly at senior management, executive and ownership level," adds Socikwa.

Education and skills development
According to the awards, the award for Education and Skills Development celebrates intensive leadership and skills programmes that support youth development and promote career awareness for black employees.

To that end, the award was recognised for the work of the Sanlam Foundation, as well as that of the Sanlam Human Capital division, according to Sanlam.

The foundation says that one of its guiding principles is building a robust economy starts with well-educated youth. In 2021, Sanlam invested R40-million in educational programmes through its foundation which resulted in 292 jobs in the educational sector. In addition, 247 schools and 38 269 beneficiaries benefited — of which 92% were black.

Nozizwe Vundla, head of Sanlam Foundation, adds, "At Sanlam, we take education seriously. Through the Sanlam Foundation's literacy and numeracy programmes and the skills development efforts of our Human Capital colleagues, we are working to upskill people in underserved communities and develop a pipeline of talented graduates to join Sanlam's workforce. Our overarching objective is always to make a measurable and meaningful impact, and it feels great to have our efforts validated in this way."

Internally, significant time and financial resources are being invested in training and developing Sanlam's people, says Vundla.

"We spent just over R908-million on training in 2021; R283-million focussed on black male employees and R408-million on black females. More than 2 000 managers took part in our group leadership programmes, which included mentorship, digitisation, management development and transformational leadership learnings," concludes Socikwa.

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