Employment growth at ‘two-year-high’

2011-04-11 09:31

Employment grew at its highest level in two years in March, although many of the jobs created are temporary, according to the latest Adcorp Employment Index released today.

“This is the first time in well over two-and-a-half years that all sectors, occupations and employment types recorded positive growth,” Adcorp CEO Richard Pike said in a statement.

Total employment grew by 5.6% last month.

The highest employment growth rates were seen in transport at 18.3%, electricity at 13.6% and agriculture at 11.8%.

Mining jobs grew 11.5%, professional services at 10.8% and machine operator occupations at 10.4%.

Agency employment grew by 9.9%.

The index found employment in the official sector grew 7.3%, and in the unofficial sector it grew two%.

Temporary work grew by 3.7% during the month, while non-agency temporary work declined.

“This is the first time since January 2006 that the formal sector drew workers out of informal employment,” said Pike.

He said in the past decade, South Africa’s employment growth had been of a temporary nature.

“This is in line with international trends and South Africans still need a shift in mindset around the notions of temporary and permanent employment.” he said.

“Since January 2000, traditional permanent employment declined by 20.9% and temporary, contract and other forms of ‘atypical’ employment increased by 64.1%.”

This translated into 1.9 millions jobs lost in traditional employment. There were 2.4 million people employed in temporary-type jobs.

“Clearly, there is nothing temporary about temporary employment, except in the limited sense that a particular temporary job may not last permanently or indefinitely.”

Temporary work was a “natural business response” to technological innovations in the workplace and provided a stop-gap for people entering and exiting the permanent job market, such as youth, retired people, working mothers, and unskilled and inexperienced job-seekers, he said.

“It is not likely that 3.8 million South Africans – up from 1.4 million in 2000 – could be duped into accepting temporary work.

“Given the sheer scale and consistency of the phenomenon, there is a perfectly rational foundation to the growing demand among job-seekers, for flexible, part-time and temporary forms of work,” Pike said.

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