South Africa’s youth bear the burden of the country’s unemployment burden
While the unemployment rate rose an unexpected 0,6%, South Africa is still facing a mass unemployment crisis, with 44.1% of the labour force without work in the second quarter. This is testament to the fact the country’s jobless rate is highest of 82 nations monitored by Bloomberg.
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey released on Tuesday shows 8 million jobless people still searching for jobs, an increase from 7.9 million in Q1. Additionally, there are 3.6 million discouraged workers and 700 000 South African’s who have stopped their job search for other reasons.
Stats for SA youth
“The recently released stats highlight the fact that South Africa’s youth are bearing the brunt of the unemployment burden,” says Ari Katz, CEO Boston City Campus.
Youth aged 15-24 and 25 -34 recorded the highest unemployment rates of 61,4% and 41,2% respectively. Approximately 3,7M (35,7%) out of 10,2 M young people aged 15-24 years were not in employment education or training (NEET). This means that more than 1 out 0f 3 young South Africans between these ages were disengaged with the labour market, precluding them from gaining experience or further skills and perpetuating intergenerational poverty.
The NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) rate, seen in conjunction with high youth unemployment rate of over 60%, suggests that the youth face extreme difficulties engaging with the labour market in South Africa.
“Companies and institutions need to actively participate in providing and sourcing gainful employment for these youth” says Katz. “We need to be as proactive and as active as possible. We at Boston have an entire department dedicated to coaching, mentoring and assisting students who are in the job-seek space. Students and graduates have a gap in exposure to workplace behaviours and they need extra input in order to secure great jobs!”
Jobs in demand
CareerJunction reported that year-on-year, hiring activity has increased by 23% between June 2021 and June 2022. However, we need to be cognisant of which skills are in demand when we choose a qualifcation.
Vacancies over 2022, show these sectors as the most highly sought after: Finance Sales IT Business & Management Manufacturing & Assembly Admin, Office & Support Building & Construction,.
According to Stats SA, Graduates faired better in the workplace environment with the graduate unemployment rate at 10.2%,
Graduates need a holistic set of skills – both in terms of their field of expertise, technical know-how to participate in an increasingly digitised work environment and also so called soft skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving, self-discipline and time management.
Recent data from Boston Consulting Group reports that “there is more than 50% of a skills mismatch between the current South African workforce and the demands of the work environment.” This means that we need to be careful when choosing a qualification, but also that we need to adopt a mindset of lifelong learning and upskill even if we are in a job, to remain relevant.
“Skills mismatch (where graduates don’t have the skills to meet the demand, or find themselves in a job where they can’t perform because they have inappropriate skills) is a key contributing factor to the jobless crisis,” says Katz. “It is essential for tertiary institutions to have direct communication and interaction with the workplace, so as to create an efficient ecosystem that supplies matching skills to quality jobs in order to build our economy and stimulate graduate entry into the workplace.”
This requires a reciprocal interaction by education and private business – where corporations manage training programming and upskilling their employers so that education is informed.
“Additionally, government need to take the necessary steps to improve the responsiveness of education and training and academic institutions to develop the necessary qualifications to facilitate skills delivery and meet the evolving needs of the business environment,” says Katz.