Published: 2007-12-01

Safmarine Maersk Line became the biggest winner at the inaugural South African Graduate Recruiters Awards ceremony, held at Kievits Kroon, Pretoria, on 29 November 2007. The company took Gold in the Best Graduate Recruitment Website (under 30 recruits) category, as well as the Grand Prix award for the Web Category, and also took home the Bronze award for the Best Printed Material (under 30 recruits) category.

Giles Shepherd, Managing Director of brandalive, who chaired the judging panel, said several awards were not given at this year's event, including the Silver, Gold and Grand Prix for Best Printed Material. "It was clearly decided from the outset that the purpose of the awards was to judge the best efforts against rigid criteria and best practice, not simply to judge the entries received against one another," he said. "If we did that we would set the precedent to reward the best of whatever lot we had, and that would do little for the upliftment of the industry as a whole.

"One of the primary goals of SAGEA is to elevate the standard of graduate recruitment - as a professional discipline, creatively and in terms of being at the forefront of global best practice. In the pursuit of that it is vital that the awards set the highest international standards and set the benchmarks for organisations to drive at."

Cathy Sims, SAGEA's National co-ordinator, says the inaugural awards were an outstanding success. "Over 100 people attended the banquet, and even though some awards were not given, there were many entries, and companies went to fantastic lengths to present their work."

Sims says that South Africa is in the early stages of professionalising the discipline of graduate recruitment by comparison to countries such as the UK, where the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has been in existence since the 1960's. "This means that the media used to attract and retain talent, as well as the investment made by companies into these efforts, is still growing. However, the awards have proven to be a significant assistance to this, demonstrating where needs exist."

Presenting the awards was Carl Gilleard, CEO of the AGR (UK), who was impressed with the significant way in which SAGEA has grown in its three years of existence. "To not only have over 100 corporate members already, but to have had such excellent interest in the first awards programme, is very exciting and encouraging indeed," he said.

"I am very pleased that the approach to judging the awards has been so professional, setting an excellent precedent for the future, and to create an atmosphere in which companies strive to improve standards."

The other awards given on the night were as follows;

  • Bronze awarded to KPMG, and Silver to First National Bank in the Best Printed Material (over 30 recruits) category
  • Bronze awarded to Accenture, and Silver to Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking in the Best Graduate Recruitment Website (over 30 recruits) category.

Giles Shepherd said that in the print category there was some good use of concepts that were well translated across various print types, and some excellent effort put into trying to differentiate the brands. However, many print executions could not be identified with their brand if you covered the logo in the bottom corner. "This is a very common problem faced by brands, and those that manage to project a distinctive feel that does not rely on the logo for its identity stand head and shoulders above the rest.

"Some concepts were also too complicated, overriding the message, and this made it difficult to receive the information that was pertinent," said Shepherd.

The web category showed some great use of technology, providing exciting functionality that attracts but also leads to a good result. In some cases simplicity was well used, which is a very important factor in this environment. Being able to easily transact on a website was a significant distinguishing factor. The surprising element in this category was the number of organisations that had live and functional websites with entire sections that still contained 'Lorum Ipsom' dummy text, and the significant number of spelling mistakes, showing a need in the 'attention to detail' department.

The Graduate Recruitment Awards recognise company's efforts in projecting their employment brands to prospective talent via a number of means and media. The brandalive specialisation in brand development through people, with a strong focus on the development and projection of employment brands, led to it being appointed as the architect of the awards programme in South Africa. The judges of this year's awards were Giles Shepherd of brandalive, Greg Roberts of Mortimer Harvey, Peter Muller of IO interactive, Mia Badenhorst from Golden Key and Charisse Drobis of Wits Business School.

Interested parties can visit or email

For more information, please contact Giles Shepherd on 0741 010 393 or mail to

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