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
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.