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Socioeconomic transformation in post-apartheid South Africa is regulated by affirmative action (AA) and employment equity legislation. This paper aims to empirically explore the measurement, impact, and strategy for affirmative action and workforce transformation in the South African financial sector. A mixed methods research design underpinned by the pragmatism paradigm and transformational leadership theory was employed. Purposive sampling was used to collect qualitative interview data (n = 20), then thematically analysed. Quantitative survey data using random sampling selection (n = 100) was factor analysed. These constructs were measured: AA measurement; AA perception; AA transformation; AA business impact; and AA strategic framework. Qualitative findings indicate that AA targets are being measured as per legislation, yet transformation is slow and hindered by barriers. According to quantitative results, the AA strategy is essential. Management commitment is needed to represent all population groups in all jobs, frequently communicate about AA, transform previously disadvantaged women and young people, and create a diverse workforce that offers socioeconomic justice. The study adds to the body of knowledge on affirmative action, workforce transformation, and socioeconomic justice. The 10-step AA strategic management framework emerged as a practical contribution of the study.
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