10 million jobs needed in 10 years: economist

2011-06-09 13:33

South Africa needs to create 10 million jobs in the next 10 years to become a normal country, economist Mike Schussler said today.

“That would mean 83 000 jobs a month,” he said in Johannesburg at the release of trade union UASA’s 10th employment report.

“South Africa needs to create more jobs than the five million government is aiming for.”

He said South Africa had no other option but to outperform in the next decade.

“We are not in a good situation we need a lot of employment growth.”

About 350 000 new jobs had been created in South Africa over the last 11 years but there had been a massive drop in those self-employed, Schussler said.

In 2001 there were 2.2 million self-employed and in 2010 it was 1.1 million.

Employers employing more than four people other than themselves dropped from about 350 000 to 300 000 over the same period, he said.

“This indicates that employee numbers actually increased substantially but employer numbers dropped dramatically,” he said.

“The problem, however, remains that for South Africa to obtain the international average adult employed ratio or the new growth plan we need to increase the number of jobs at least tenfold.”

He said South Africa needed to free up entrepreneurship.

The ratio of adults employed fell from about 53 percent in 1991 to 40.8 percent in 2010.

“This is a substantial fall in the ratio of South Africans employed, however the actual number of employed adults has risen, it’s just that the SA population has risen much faster.”

Schussler said innovation and learning helped increase workers well-being.

“South Africa had outperformed the world in educational increases as less than 23 percent of our workforce had a matric qualification or more in 1991,” he said.

“In 2010 just over 37 percent of our adult population had finished school or more.”

However, South Africa was lagging in specialised education.

Despite this educational attainment, the percentage of adults employed had fallen from about 46 percent to about 41 percent.

Schussler said South Africa had more labour laws than most countries around the world and it had more people than ever employed by the state.

“The private sector is taking its time in employing people and for that there must be a reason,” he said. 

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