According to the latest Statistics South Africa Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), the employment rate for youth aged 18 – 34 increased by 0.5 percentage points to 52.3% over the past quarter.
Harambee’s employment rate is lower than that of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey because Harambee reaches excluded youth who tend to face higher structural barriers to employment. However Harambee’s employment rate shows an uptick on the previous quarter commensurate with seasonality in hiring.
When looking at youth unemployment over time, compared to the same period five years ago, there are 60,000 fewer young people working now than there were then despite the labour force in this group growing by almost 1 million people. Over a five-year period almost 1 million youth entered the labour market with no net new jobs being created.
KEY INSIGHTS FOR
Finishing matric (secondary school) still matters for finding a job
In comparing the employment outcomes for Harambee youth who have completed their high schooling versus those who haven’t, we see that those with a high school qualification are more likely to be active in the economy.
This is supported by analysis conducted by the research from the University of Cape Town. The South African Labour Development Research Unit found an 8% difference in economic activity and connection to the labour market between youth who completed matric versus those who didn’t.
Figure 1: Schooling still matters for work
School results are not always a predictor of performance
Often employers use a young person’s school results, in particular their mathematical ability, as the basis for determining their suitability for jobs. However, these aren’t necessarily predictors of the young person’s ability to perform and succeed at work. For example, one of Harambee’s matching tools is a learning potential assessment that measures the ability to learn new information quickly.
A recent Harambee analysis demonstrates that if employers hire on the basis of numeracy scores – and not look at learning potential – they would exclude nearly 90% of youth who might have the ability to learn what is needed for the job.
Figure 2: School results are not always a predictor of performance
What can employers do:
- Employers need a holistic view of what is needed for success rather than solely looking at school performance.
- School reports reflect historic achievements but don’t always reflect future potential. A young person’s learning potential provides another lens to identify relevant competencies beyond school results.
- Youth need more information about the jobs that are available. When advertising, employers can provide better insights into the company, what work is done, and more detailed job descriptions.