Lim­ited jobs for grad­u­ates

Grocott's Mail - - ECONOMIX - By BULELWA MBANGENI

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.

Photo: Bulelwa Mbangeni

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.

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