Limited jobs for graduates
The Biennial Conference of the Economics Society of South Africa (ESSA) was hosted at Rhodes University from 30 August to 1 September. Last Wednesday’s session in the Languages department, discussed the employment and labour market in South Africa. An intimate gathering of about 25 people sat for the session.
The hour and a half session involved three speakers who spoke about employment, rural electrification, and the labour market in South Africa, with others focusing specifically on the Eastern Cape. The conference was opened by Chijioke Nwosu who, with his research partner Catherine Ndinda (who was absent from the event), completed a research project which was titled ‘Employment and Poverty in South Africa: A General Analysis’. He pointed out the significant difference between households where only females are employed or heads of the house versus maleheaded households.
His research concluded that the reason for the gender pay gap that exists between female-headed households and male-headed households is that when women are employed, they earn little and women are more likely to leave and have children inter- rupting their careers.
The concluding speaker was Loyiso Maciko who also spoke on behalf of his research partner Babalwa Siswana in her absence. His research project was titled, ‘ A Study Investigating the Impact of Graduate Unemployment in Eastern Cape’. He began his presentation by highlighting how unemployment is one of the triple challenges facing South Africa. His paper focused largely on the graduate proportion of the total youth unemployment in the Eastern Cape. Maciko’s presentation was appropriate especially inlight of the #HireAGraduate movement that started earlier this year where hundreds of unemployed graduates marched to the Premier’s office in Bhisho to demand jobs.
He looked at the four universities within the Eastern Cape that produce well-groomed graduates in a province that seemingly has little capacity to harness their skills, looking at graduates from 2005 to 2014.
Maciko used the Human Capacity Theory (HCT) which promotes and explains investments in education as an instrument that enhances economic development and growth.
The investment made has not matched employment which would lead to returns on investments. Maciko said this means there is a large proportion of people who are willing to work and who have the ability to be productive but there are limited job opportunities.
He concluded that graduate unemployment continues to rise and that citizens of South Africa need to be concerned by this crisis. He encouraged all to be catalysts of change for the betterment of the province.
Discussing the employment and labor market in South Africa at the recent economics conference are, from left to right: Loyiso Maciko, Claire Vermaak, and Chijioke Nwosu.