Solving Youth Unemployment in South Africa

Posted on Tue, Mar 27th, 2018

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasized that one of the most grave and pressing challenges within the country was the ballooning rate of youth unemployment. From 2013 to 2017, the youth unemployment rate in South Africa has averaged 51.95%, with an all-time high of 55.90% recorded in the second quarter of 2017. Only 10% of the population is responsible for most of the economic activity within the country. At the same time, there is an essential need to develop workplace skills.

For the country to prosper, there is a need to vigorously promote the concept of inclusive growth and push for a level of collaboration across all sectors of the economy in order to turn this situation around.

The Jobs Summit is not being held as a knee-jerk reaction. The Summit is the result of 12 months of industry engagement. Over the last year, government has interacted with close to 200 companies to identify solutions that work. Plans are already in place to do more. Already, 20 action plans have been put in place, with over 20 industry task teams having been formed. Each industry has come up with a plan on how they will create 5000 jobs. The goal is to ensure the creation of 100,000 new jobs in 2018.

This year’s summit will bring together CEOs from across different sectors, who are expected to come up with a strategy for tackling the unemployment problem head-on. They will share best practices and jointly come up with new approaches that will ensure the creation of 100,000 jobs in 2018. The summit will bring together people with a common vision and purpose, people who are responsible and who are determined to turn the job situation in South Africa for the better.

Everyone can be involved in the fight against youth unemployment. This is why we need everyone to join. The strategy is simple. Give young people a chance to gain work experience. According to research, anyone with 6-12 months’ work experience has an 80% chance of finding long term employment.

Contributors to a discussion on LinkedIn feel that the key to improving youth employment within the country is by providing guidance to students from a young age. Every industry player should partner with tertiary institutions, while tertiary institutions should partner with high schools (from Grade 10). The aim of this would be to assist students with choosing relevant and more appropriate careers that tap into a practical and long term need in the South African and global job markets. Far too often, lack of information results in bright students who are lucky enough to attend tertiary institutions, studying nullified programs which don’t offer the student or SA a competitive advantage in the work sector. Mentorship from grade 10 is crucial to showcase the career options and assist in creating a sustainable talent pool. We should also partner together and mentor students graduating from tertiary institutions and prepare them for interviews and how to present themselves – we all need to give back.

Click here to download the South African Women in Leadership in 2018 eBook, where we take a deeper look at the role of women in organizational leadership in South Africa in 2018.