Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Youths in the South African Labour Market since the Transition: A Study of Changes between 1995 and 2011
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
URL http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2012/wp182012/wp-18-2012.pdf
Abstract
The persistently high unemployment rate has always been one of the most pressing socio-economic problems of the South African economy. There is a general consensus that unemployment is structural, as there is a mismatch between the skills demanded by employers for the available jobs and the skills supplied by the labour force seeking work. As there is an increase of demand for highly-skilled workers with the adoption of capital-intensive and technologically more advanced production processes, most of the unemployed are unskilled and not well educated. The unemployment rate is much higher amongst youths than in amongst the older workforce. Also, youths are less likely to find employment and employed youths are relatively more likely to be retrenched during recessions due to their lack of experience. The announcement by the Finance Minister in the February 2011 Budget Speech that a youth wage subsidy will be implemented in 2012 was based on the hope that the subsidy program would boost the labour demand for youths, and decrease youth unemployment. Hence, this paper first analyses the demographic and education characteristics of the youth labour force, employed and unemployed, using the 1995-2011 labour survey data released by Statistics South Africa. The paper then investigates the main causes of youth unemployment, such as skills mismatch, quality of education, lack of experience, expectations of the youths, and the impact of wage rigidities.

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