Unemployment still high among youth


In 2009, South African President Jacob Zuma speaking at his first State of the Nation Address, promised the country that his adminstration would create half a million jobs. But the President’s second term in office is almost over and this has not happened. Recently, many cases have gone viral on social media of many individuals struggling to find jobs found standing at traffic robots with placcards seeking work. These ‘job beggars’ at busy streets often have degrees or diplomas. Statistics South Africa issued a media release at the end of September 2017 which shows that there has been a 0.4% decline in jobs in the formal non-agricultural sector.

 An entry often overlooked is the expanded definition of unemployed. In this category, Trading Economics reports that it increased to 36.6%. This category includes unemployed people who have stopped actively seeking employment.

This figure is however quite moderate when compared to the one reported by a University of Cape Town report dated to 2016. The report focuses on unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 35 years. The research shows that youth unemployment stands at a staggering 48%, reporting that the situation is now considered chronic.

The UCT paper shows another problematic trend – that of job seekers who give up looking for work, has increased to 8%. The reason for including those under the age of 18 as is convention, is because those who are 15 years old and above are expected to be either in “employment, education or training”. The UCT research suggests that employers have raised requirements for employment because they, among other things, distrust the quality of education which young people receive.

It should therefore mean that those with an extra-matricular qualification such as a degree or diploma, are more likely to find employment, but an increasing number of youth with tertiary qualifications are finding this to be untrue, in their struggle to find employment.

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