Despite the prevalent gender bias in the South African payroll industry towards women, change is under way says Val Forrest, Executive Director and Administrator of the South African Payroll Association (SAPA).
“Payroll has a high level of discipline and routine and women handle routine well, others just fall into the job because they are good at figures and can build good relationships,” Forrest adds.
The gender imbalance is also evident in SAPA’s membership, which is currently sitting at 50% female that are white and Indian, with the remainder being divided between black women and men.
“However, it is enormously exciting to see the number of men that are coming into payroll and they have a definite layer of sophistication to them,” Forrest says. “In this profession, if you are good, no business wants to lose you and those who come into the profession today are well aware of this.”
She further notes that she would like to see change around equal pay for equal work and more recognition as to the important role the payroll professional plays in the success of any business.
Evolution of payroll
Focusing on other changing trends in payroll, Forrest mentions that in the 60’s, the payroll practitioner inhabited an entirely different world to the one in which they currently practice. It was, to be precise, a hard slog.
“Sometimes I wonder how we managed back then,” says Forrest, who has