I recently had to interview prospective employees for an intern vacancy. While the job itself had some perks, the salary was what you would expect from a job that requires minimum experience. I have some experience in appointing “entry-level” staff, and thus it came as no surprise when I received over 200 CVs within the first 24 hours after posting an ad for the position online.
While the quantity of applicants didn’t surprise me, the quality surely did. Candidates with ample experience, university degrees, countless short courses and various self-taught skills were willing to take on an intern position with a very basic salary and no added benefits.
During the interview stage, plenty of the candidates were remarkable and choosing only one seemed like the cruelest thing I ever had to do. Some of them proved highly eager to learn, some already had incredible knowledge, and all of them admitted that they’d been struggling for a while to find employment.
Sadly, the latest unemployment figures released by Stats SA confirmed that this dire prospect for South Africa’s workforce, and especially our youth, is not improving.
While most sectors did show an increase in job opportunities during the first quarter of 2017, it was not enough to keep up with the growing number of jobseekers.
Here are some of the highlights (or low points) of the labour force statistics released by Stats SA for the first quarter of 2017:
• The growth in employment by 144 000, was offset by the growth in the number of job-seekers by 433 000.
• The unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2017 stands at 27,7%.
• This is the highest unemployment rate since September 2003.
• Employment grew in all provinces quarter to quarter except in Eastern Cape and Limpopo.
• Of the 433 000 people who joined the ranks of the unemployed, approximately 58% were young people aged 15-34.
• The youth unemployment rate increased by 1,6 percentage points to 38,6%.
• The unemployment rate among graduates remained at 7,3%.
• The expanded unemployment rate (which includes those who wanted to work but did not look for work) increased by 391 000 people.
• The current expanded unemployment rate is 36,4%.
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