An empirical investigation of the impact of human capital efficiency on the financial and market performance of South African listed companies

Morris, Carla (2014-04)

Thesis (MAcc)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Human capital efficiency, as measured by Value-Added Human Capital (VAHU), refers to an employee's ability to create value-added for his employer. As a key resource which is not captured by conventional accounting, human capital and its value-creating ability may contribute to the premium to book value at which many companies trade. This study, therefore, sought to investigate trends in the divergence between book value and market value in South Africa, by analysing the median market-to-book ratios of companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange over time. The primary research objectives, however, were to empirically confirm whether corporate financial and market performance in South Africa can be explained as a contemporaneous and future outcome of human capital efficiency, and whether human capital efficiency is improving. In a largely industrialised emerging market, such as South Africa, there is some concern that companies which concentrate on efficient and productive management of their tangible assets may neglect the effective skills development and training of their human capital assets. Time-series cross-sectional multiple regressions were used to analyse the intra-industry and inter-industry relationships between VAHU and financial performance (as measured by return on assets, revenue growth and headline earnings per share) and market performance (as measured by market-to-book ratios and total share return) in companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Of the financial year-ends falling in the period 31 December 2001 to 30 June 2011, 1765 company years were covered, relating to 390 companies listed on the Main Board and ALT-X. Company size, leverage, industry and return on equity were held as control factors. The same financial data was used to assess the median growth in VAHU over the period under review. The market value-book value gap of listed companies in South Africa was found to have increased from 2001 to 2011, while human capital efficiency declined. Human capital efficiency has almost no effect on current or future market performance in South Africa. Higher human capital efficiency has a positive effect on current returns generated by any asset – tangible or intangible. Higher headline earnings per share is concurrently associated with higher human capital efficiency in almost every industry. Higher revenue growth is contemporaneously associated with higher human capital efficiency in all industries, except those which are consumer-driven. In consumer-driven industries, human capital efficiency is not a driver for revenue growth, but is still associated with higher profitability. The longer-term effect of human capital efficiency on corporate performance in South Africa is more unclear than its immediate effect. The findings of the study highlight the commercial implications of the degree of industrial action and poor basic education in South Africa – a working population that is poorly educated, with the paradox of wages that are low in relation to the cost of living, yet which are becoming too high in relation to the level of output the workers produce. The results pose a compelling argument for improving the quality of education in South Africa, as well as for employer-driven skills development and employee training.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Menslike kapitaaldoeltreffendheid, soos gemeet deur Toegevoegde Waarde Menslike Kapitaal (TWMK), verwys na 'n werknemer se vermoë om toegevoegde waarde vir sy werkgewer te skep. As 'n sleutel-hulpbron wat nie deur konvensionele rekeningkunde vasgelê word nie, dra menslike kapitaal en die waardeskeppingsvermoë daarvan, dalk by tot die premie op boekwaarde waarteen baie maatskappye verhandel. Hierdie studie het dus nagestreef om tendense in die afwyking tussen boekwaarde en markwaarde in Suid-Afrika te ondersoek, deur die mediaan mark-tot-boekverhoudings van maatskappye genoteer op die Johannesburgse Effektebeurs met tydverloop, te ontleed. Die hoof-navorsingsdoelwitte was egter om empiries te bevestig of korporatiewe finansiële en markprestasie in Suid-Afrika beskryf kan word as 'n gelyktydige en toekomstige gevolg van menslike kapitaaldoeltreffendheid en of daardie menslike kapitaaldoeltreffendheid verbeter. In 'n grootliks geïndustrialiseerde ontwikkelende mark, soos Suid-Afrika, is daar 'n mate van kommer dat die maatskappye wat konsentreer op die doeltreffende en produktiewe bestuur van hul tasbare bates, die doelmatige ontwikkeling van vaardighede en opleiding van hul menslike kapitaalbates mag verwaarloos. Tydreekse dwarsdeursnee meervoudige regressies is gebruik om die intra-industrie en inter-industrie verhoudings tussen TWMK en finansiële prestasie (soos gemeet deur die opbrengs op bates, inkomstegroei en wesensverdienste per aandeel) en markprestasie (soos gemeet deur mark-tot-boekverhoudings en die totale opbrengs op aandele) in maatskappye wat op die Johannesburgse Effektebeurs genoteer is, te ontleed. Van die finansiële jaareindes in die tydperk 31 Desember 2001 tot 30 Junie 2011, is 1765 maatskappyjare gedek, rakende 390 maatskappye wat op die Hoofbord en Alt-X genoteer is. Die grootte van die maatskappye, hefboomfinansiering, industrie en opbrengs op ekwiteit dien as kontrolefaktore. Dieselfde finansiële data is gebruik om die mediaangroei in TWMK oor die tydperk onder oorsig te bepaal. Dit is bevind dat die markwaarde-boekwaardegaping van genoteerde maatskappye in Suid-Afrika vanaf 2001 tot 2011 toegeneem het, terwyl menslike kapitaaldoeltreffendheid gedaal het. Menslike kapitaaldoeltreffendheid het byna geen effek op die huidige of toekomstige markprestasies in Suid-Afrika nie. Hoër menslike kapitaaldoeltreffendheid het 'n positiewe uitwerking op die huidige opbrengste wat gegenereer word deur enige bate – tasbaar of ontasbaar. Hoër wesensverdienste per aandeel is samelopend met hoër menslike kapitaaldoeltreffendheid in byna elke industrie. Hoër groei in inkomste is gelyktydig geassosieer met hoër menslike kapitaaldoeltreffendheid in alle industrieë, behalwe dié wat verbruiker-gedrewe is. In verbruiker-gedrewe industrieë, is menslike kapitaaldoeltreffendheid nie 'n aandrywer van inkomstegroei nie, maar is nog steeds gelyktydig geassosieer met hoër winsgewendheid. Die langer-termyn uitwerking van menslike kapitaaldoeltreffendheid op korporatiewe prestasie in Suid-Afrika, is meer onduidelik as sy onmiddellike effek. Die bevindinge van die studie beklemtoon die kommersiële implikasies van die omvang van industriële aksie en swak basiese onderwys in Suid-Afrika – 'n werkende bevolking met swak opleiding, tesame met die paradoks van lone wat laag in vergelyking met bestaankoste is, maar wat te hoog styg met betrekking tot die vlak van uitset wat die werkers produseer. Die resultate bied 'n oortuigende argument vir die verbetering van die gehalte van onderwys in Suid-Afrika, sowel as vir werkgewer-gedrewe ontwikkeling van vaardighede en werknemersopleiding.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86549
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