Generation Y: ‘Get real about jobs’

2009-03-06 00:00

Johannesburg — Graduates entering the labour market today need to adjust their expectations, because there are many obstacles to finding the right job in the current economic conditions.

Jan Coetzee, managing director of Manpower South Africa, says Generation Y, who were born between the late 1970s and 2000, are entering the market with entirely different expectations from those of their predecessors. Much of these are unrealistic.

“They think a degree will ensure they get work. And I cannot say how many come to us looking for a monthly salary of at least R20 000, exorbitant benefits or a management position.”

These individuals have, however, zero work experience and compete with an ever-expanding pool of jobseekers.

South Africa, he reckons, has until now been largely a candidate-driven market. Agencies could quickly place people with good skills. But with retrenchments increasing and South Africans returning from England, Australia and New Zealand, it is changing into an employer-driven market.

The market “for permanent employment has shrunk significantly”, Coetzee says.

He advises candidates, first, to be more realistic about what they expect from a job and, second, to consider temporary work, which he says could become permanent.

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