Europe debt crisis set to affect job seekers in SA

2011-12-14 00:00

WHILE South African job-seekers experienced a more accommodating labour market in 2011, the European debt crisis is set to hit our shores in early 2012, knocking the prospects of new jobs.

Two key employment research documents released yesterday point to a labour market that may have experienced the best of the economic recovery in late 2011.

According to Statistics South Africa’s latest Quarterly Employment Statistics, employment grew by 59 000 in the third quarter of 2011, with a total of 8,359 million people being employed in the formal non-agricultural business sector.

The picture of a mild recovery in the labour market is completed when one considers that the economy generated 49 000 jobs in the first and second quarters of 2011.

In the third quarter the financial and trade sectors registered significant employment growth.

However, the outlook for 2012 is stable to negative, according to a survey released by workforce solutions company Manpower SA.

It said that while 80% of employers it surveyed planned to maintain staff numbers at current levels in the first quarter of 2012, a majority of the remaining businesses planned to cut staff numbers.

Manpower SA’s managing director, Peter Winn, said a number of macro-economic and political factors had affected the employment outlook in South Africa.

“With Europe being one of South Africa’s primary export destinations continuing market instability in the Eurozone means fewer sales for South African companies.

“Lower-than-expected growth figures and projections for the country have affected hiring plans for many companies.

“Further volatility in Africa and mixed messages from government regarding nationalisation of mines and uncompensated redistribution of land have made investors and employers cautious when estimating future international investment and growth,” Winn said.

While job opportunities remained relatively “hard to come by”, those who were employed continued to experience real income gains.

The Quarterly Employment Statistics revealed that the average gross earnings paid to South African employees came in at R13 000 in August 2011, almost 10,2% higher compared to August 2010, at R11 800.

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