How to Beat Un­em­ploy­ment

In South Africa, un­em­ploy­ment sits at a hor­ri­fy­ing 26,7%. And of the 66% of Mil­len­ni­als who make up our pop­u­la­tion, more than 35% are out of a job. So what gives? Here’s how to beat the stats and open up your op­por­tu­ni­ties

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - BY BUSANG SENNE AD­DI­TIONAL TEXT AND RE­SEARCH BY ROX­ANNE FRAN­CIS

Ac­cord­ing to Sta­tis­tics South Africa’s Quar­terly Labour Force Sur­vey, at the last quar­ter of 2017 the un­em­ploy­ment rate was 51,1% for 15- to 24-year-olds, and 33,4% for the 25-to-34 age group. Sta­tis­tics South Africa’s Risenga Maluleke in­di­cated that of 10,3-mil­lion 15- to 24-year-olds, 3,1-mil­lion were not in em­ploy­ment, ed­u­ca­tion or train­ing.

‘One of the most con­cern­ing im­pli­ca­tions is that, over time, young peo­ple be­come dis­cour­aged in their search for em­ploy­ment,’ says Siba­balwe Gcil­it­shana of NPO Equal Ed­u­ca­tion, a com­mu­nity of re­searchers ded­i­cated to ad­vo­cat­ing for equal­ity in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. ‘This shifts their sta­tus from un­em­ployed youth to NEETs (not in em­ploy­ment, ed­u­ca­tion or train­ing), re­sult­ing in an enor­mous pool of un­tapped po­ten­tial. The loss of that po­ten­tial is a tragedy.’

For Mil­len­ni­als, job se­cu­rity is a key con­cern – and the stats show why. But here’s the good news: there are ways you can beat youth un­em­ploy­ment. Knowl­edge is power, and we’ve got all the info you need to take mat­ters into your own hands.

WHERE DID ALL THE JOBS GO?

‘Low em­ploy­ment growth has been the con­se­quence of low eco­nomic growth: the labour mar­ket can­not ab­sorb the large numbers of young new en­trants,’ says Gcil­it­shana. Jobs are be­ing cre­ated at a much slower pace than the rate at which peo­ple are –in­ish­ing school or stud­ies. Sup­ply can’t keep up with de­mand. Ac­cess to ad­e­quate ed­u­ca­tion is also key – of those un­em­ployed, just 6,6% have ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion ver­sus 31,2% who have less than ma­tric.

What’s the gov­ern­ment do­ing?

In Fe­bru­ary’s 2018 State of the Na­tion Ad­dress (SONA), Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa an­nounced plans to bridge the gap be­tween young, un­em­ployed peo­ple with lit­tle to no ex­pe­ri­ence, and the jobs that will kick-start their ca­reer. Ramaphosa’s fo­cus is on four ini­tia­tives: a ‘jobs sum­mit’ to come up with im­ple­mentable so­lu­tions to com­bat youth un­em­ploy­ment; an ‘in­vest­ment con­fer­ence’ to at­tract do­mes­tic and for­eign money to in­ject cash into our econ­omy and help cre­ate jobs; a youth em­ploy­ment ser­vice to ‘place un­em­ployed youth in paid in­tern­ships across the econ­omy’; and a youth work­ing group to en­gage young peo­ple and draw them into con­ver­sa­tion with na­tional lead­er­ship.

Ed­u­ca­tion is also a fo­cus. At SONA, Ramaphosa said, ‘Start­ing this year, free higher ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing will be avail­able to –irst-year stu­dents from house­holds with a com­bined an­nual in­come of up to R350 000.’ The bud­get speech that fol­lowed promised R57-bil­lion for higher ed­u­ca­tion for low-in­come stu­dents.

Maryana Iskan­der, founder of Haram­bee Youth Em­ploy­ment Ac­cel­er­a­tor, an NPO ded­i­cated to com­bat­ing youth un­em­ploy­ment by pro­vid­ing cru­cial re­sources and skills to the youth, adds that for young women, lack of ex­po­sure can be a source of anx­i­ety when it comes to seek­ing em­ploy­ment. ‘Many young women who are un­em­ployed don’t know any­one who is work­ing, and can’t ask for ad­vice and sup­port about how to get a job,’ she says. That’s where COSMO comes in: we have the prac­ti­cal ad­vice you need.

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