Youth Unemployment Essays

Youth Unemployment Essays-10
Research indicates that a key difficulty facing young work seekers, in particular, is the fact that South Africa’s labour market favours highly skilled employees.The high demand for skilled labour means that those with a post-secondary qualification are far more likely to find employment than those with only a matric certificate.

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Other barriers include limited social capital and limited access to information.

A recent national study of participants in a youth employability programme reported that the average transport and other work seeking costs for young people were around R560 per month.

It’s clear that the challenge of youth unemployment is a structural issue requiring massive policy investments, political will and time.

But it’s equally important to concentrate on what can be done in the interim.

African and coloured youth are far more vulnerable to unemployment than their white or Indian counterparts; young women are more likely to be unemployed and to be NEET than their male counterparts.

(Apartheid era racial classifications, under which all South Africans were designated African, coloured, Asian and white descriptors, are still used for official purposes in the country.) Why is youth unemployment in South Africa such a seemingly intractable problem?This is a simple solution with a potentially high impact.Local-level youth employability programmes, often run through non-governmental organisations, are another possible intervention.And, unlike their middle-class peers, poorer young people lack “productive social capital” – social networks that can be used for information about and access to the labour market.These are important for navigating entry into the labour market.Ways must be found to shift the labour market to be more youth friendly. This involves employers being encouraged to review their recruitment criteria to reach candidates who might not normally be seen as employable.An example is the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator ( which involves working with employers across sectors to promote inclusive hiring practices that focus on young people.This group is arguably the most vulnerable to chronic unemployment, poverty and social exclusion, as they are neither improving their skills through education nor gaining the work experience needed to progress in the labour market.Racial and gender inequalities continue to play a significant part in the youth unemployment landscape in South Africa.The situation has worsened over the past eight years despite a great deal of policy attention and the implementation of a range of public and private interventions.If not addressed as a matter of urgency, the situation is expected to increase levels of frustration and impatience among the youth.


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