SA economy not creating enough jobs – labour report

The South African economy is not creating enough jobs and there are concerns about jobs that don’t conform with the w ith decent work conditions or standards.

“Unemployment is a fact in the country and it needs drastic and immediate actions to be taken to heal the situation, a Department of Labour (DoL) report says. The Job Opportunities and Unemployment – in the South African Labour market 2012-2013 Report, says more and more economically active people are becoming discouraged and leaving the labour market altogether, which could have lasting devastating effects, especially amongst youth and women.

 “There is a need to wake up and tackle the youth unemployment problem in the South African labour market as they constitute the majority in the working age population group (15-64 years). While some positive trends in employment where recorded in the country, young people are still being exposed to “generation-jobless” as it is the case of the global rise in youth unemployment,” the report said.

 According to the Department of Labour there are various arguments about the cause of unemployment in South Africa. Chief among them is South Africa’s poor education system and lack of productivity is costing jobs.

 The department has warned that based on these trends the high unemployment in South Africa is likely to persist for the foreseeable future as domestic growth forecasts continue to be revised downward.

 The Job Opportunities and Unemployment – in the South African Labour market 2012-2013 Report seeks to reflect on the job opportunities, e.g., vacancies created by the South African economy in line with the prospect of sectoral skills needed as against available skills in the country.

 The data in the report is collated from statistics from the department public entity, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claims and various sources such as Statistics SA and job vacancy data from newspapers and other sources among others.

 The main purpose of this report is to assess the job opportunities, job losses and the skills gaps in the country during the financial year 2012/13, in order to inform policy makers on the changes of skills supplied and demanded, then draw some suggestions on how policy makers can intervene and minimise the risks associated with unemployment.

 Within the Department, as encapsulated in the report, about R4-billion from the UIF was lent to businesses through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to save or create jobs. A total of  21 234 jobs were created and 20 161 saved for the period up to 31 March 2013. The UIF continues to play a pivotal role in the area of job creation, said the department.

 “After many government attempts to reduce unemployment through the implementation of various policies, unemployment seems to continue to threaten our democracy. It appears that those who continue to be disadvantaged are those historically disadvantaged groups.

 The report delineates there is a growing need for qualified and skilled people in the South African labour market. In quarter four of 2012 and quarter one of 2013 or year-end March 2012 to year-end March 2013 changes, employment was created in plant and machine operators, professionals and managers occupational categories.

 For example, between quarter four of 2012 and quarter one of 2013, jobs were mostly created in the plant and machine operators category, that is 83 000 jobs from 1 139 000 to 1 222 000; Professionals, that is 65 000 jobs from 805 000 to 870 000 and Managers, that is 40 000 jobs from 1 075 000 to 1 115 000.

 Employment has decreased in the semi-skilled and less skilled occupations. There was a decrease in craft and related trade category by 87 000 jobs from 1 660 000 to 1 573 000, sales and services by 45 000 jobs from 1 996 000 to 1 951 000, and elementary by 30 000 jobs from 3 034 000 to 3 004 000, as well as clerical by 8 000 jobs from 1 443 000 to 1 435 000 over the same quarter during the financial year 2012/13.

 “There is an indication of a high demand for managers and professional workers in the South African labour market. This indicates the need for a high level of education and skilled labour rather than unskilled and less experienced workers in the country.

 “Surprisingly, there are currently a large number of young people with low educational achievement associated with low skills. Few unemployed people have a tertiary educational qualification and they are not easily absorbed into those occupational categories. One needs to scrutinise also the content of these tertiary qualifications in line with what skills companies are currently absorbing in the labour market,” the Job and Unemployment Report said.

 In response to the problem of job creation on its part the Department in June 2012, officially launched an initiative called the Jobs Fairs and Summits that were conducted in all nine provinces. These Jobs Fairs were intended to provide an opportunity for work seekers to meet prospective employers, in both private and public sectors and other organisations that can assist with placement in different forms of employment or in learning opportunities.

 The report calls for a need for a complete and bolder solution through a collaborative partnership between Government, Organised Labour, Business and Civil Society Organisations in building and addressing the high unemployment rate in the country. It adds:

• Both the public and private sector need to be equally involved in the programme of employment creation, in particular with the new infrastructural development projects.

• Companies should find young people with the right skills, this in turn implies that Government must improve education with both a new vigour and aim to implement policies that will guarantee students a job while they are still studying or getting experiential training

• Government should take vigorous steps to strengthen public enforcement and fight racial discrimination and promote employment equity.


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