Lockdown hits SA youth
Survey reveals salary cuts and increasing anxiety about job security
A SURVEY by the Youth Employment Services (YES) revealed that 43% of youth employed over the past 12 months were earning less than what they earned before the Covid-19 crisis.
Many respondents said their income was cut by over half since the outbreak of the pandemic in March.
The survey further revealed that job security was among their main concerns and that they were unsure about keeping their jobs during lockdown.
YES chief executive Teshmia Ismail-Saville said some of the economic findings of the survey were frightening.
“About 85% were using their salaries to support more extended families, neighbours and friends, while over 40% had family members who had lost jobs and were not sure whether they would get them back. “These youths’ jobs and salaries were important in their households,” she said.
Of the youth surveyed, two out of three said they were depressed and over 67% said they were highly anxious about their situation.
“We always look at the economics of the situation but the person’s mindset in the work world is as important. When you have millions of youths who are sad and depressed, this has an important impact on our society.
“We have seen with corporate SA and with many of our employees that there is a lot of exhaustion and anxiety coming in,” said Ismail-Saville.
A similar survey conducted by Lucha Lunako from the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship found that many young people had had to borrow money to survive, with a significant number plunged deeper into unemployment.
About 30% of young people said they had lost money because of the lockdown with 28% admitting to having borrowed money as a result, putting them deeper into debt.
A total of 32% said their finances had been impacted because they could not go out to look for work.
Lucha Lunako co-founder Alana Bond said this revealed that many young people were experiencing more financial challenges. There was a need to acknowledge that young people were facing a disproportionately more uncertain future than those who had had the time to develop skills and start their careers.
Bertha Centre director Solange Rosa said the survey was of significance as it revealed how the virus was impacting South African youth, an extremely vulnerable segment of the population.
She said the pandemic had aggravated a youth unemployment crisis that has hit the country hard.
Ismail-Saville said during the lockdown there was a huge drop in registration by companies, preventing young people from gaining experience over a 12-month period. However, companies were now interested in employing young people again.