Black. Keen. Jobless

2014-06-08 15:00

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Statistician-general Pali Lehohla released a gloomy set of numbers on Thursday regarding unemployment among the youth.

Statisticians compared data compiled during the first three months of 2008 and during the same period this year to arrive at their findings.

Here are seven things you need to know about the report:

1. Overall youth unemployment increased between 2008 and 2014. In 2008, 32.7% of people between the ages of 15 to 34 were unemployed, according to Stats SA. This has increased to 36.1%

2. The Free State accounted for the largest increase in youth unemployment. Almost half of that province’s youth are now unemployed

3. Close to two-thirds of people aged 20 to 24 were in long-term unemployment. Young people tended to be unemployed for long periods of time, especially in Mpumalanga and the Free State. Long-term unemployment ­also increased the most in these provinces since 2008

4. Employment was highest among young people aged between 25 and 29, and 30 to 34, but was lowest among those in the youngest age group (15 to 24). Stats SA said this was because some young people had opted to continue their education in a bid to improve their future job prospects

5.Young people were better educated than adults. More than half of young people had matric and higher ­qualifications compared with just under half of adults aged 35 to 64 – but fewer adults were unemployed

6. More young women, 39.5%, did not have jobs, compared with 33.4% of jobless young men

7. Youth unemployment ­increased in all provinces ­except KwaZulu-Natal, which stayed the same, and ­Limpopo, which saw a 14.9% decrease

– Moyagabo Maake

Agnes Rakgogo (24) loved chemistry in high school and was so good at it that she studied it at university.

She thought that with a diploma in analytical chemistry, which she obtained from the Vaal University of Technology, she would have no trouble finding work.

But when she eventually found a job last year, it was only a temporary position. She has been unemployed again for six months now and cannot find work, even with some work experience.

Rakgogo lives in Turffontein, Johannesburg, in a province where 36% of young people have jobs this year compared with 42.2% in 2008?–?a decrease of 6.2%, the highest decline across all provinces.

“I sometimes regret spending all that money and time on a diploma because this whole experience has been so frustrating,” says Rakgogo.

Her joblessness has also affected her family because she can no longer contribute to the household like she used to and that just increases her frustration.

Rakgogo spends a lot of time on the internet applying for jobs and sending emails, and uses her savings to fund her job hunt.

“It would help a lot if companies explained why I am not a suitable hire because I do have some experience,” she says.

“It would be nice to get a job in my field and what I studied for, but right now I am willing to do anything,” adds Rakgogo. – Mamello Masote

Mthobisi Gamede is desperate not to be one of the 92.7% of KwaZulu-Natal’s youth who have no work experience.

So the 24-year-old with a software development diploma from Mangosuthu University of Technology works for free.

“I serve as an information officer at a government institution. I also help out in the community with repairs and installation of software,” he said.

He is uncertain about his future, but is honing his skills as a volunteer.

Gamede has been unemployed since he graduated in 2012. He fell in love with computer programming in high school, but now feels the piece of paper he worked so hard for is worthless.

“It has affected [the family] badly, not only in the financial department but also the younger children. You see that the morale is down,” he says.

“They think it’s useless to continue with studying because, at the end of the day, there is nothing to show for it.”

Gamede spends plenty of time on the internet looking for jobs and sends about 10% of his applications by post. He has to ask his mum for money.

“It feels like it’s a waste of time to have studied and then get no job,” he says. Gamede thinks companies reject his applications because he lives in Ulundi and lacks experience.

– Siyabonga Sithole

With her diploma in civil engineering from a further education and training college, MafelaTshivhase never thought she’d struggle this much to find a job in a country where women are encouraged to take up male-dominated careers.

Tshivhase (26) from Sibasa near Thohoyandou, instead finds herself frustrated and despairing as months pass with not a single invitation for a job interview.

She is one of the 39.5% of young unemployed women, compared with 33.4% of young men. Ironically, she lives in Limpopo – the only province to record a decrease in youth unemployment.

“Ideally, I’d want to work in Limpopo or, even better, in the Vhembe area and be close to my family. After job hunting for months now, I have given up and am prepared to relocate – preferably to Gauteng or Mpumalanga.”

After qualifying in 2012, she had a number of short-term contracts with construction and civil engineering companies.

“I specialise in roads and bridges, and hoped I’d be able to get something permanent. Roads are bad in Limpopo and I hoped there would be many companies doing work across the province, but I’m almost losing hope.

“I have considered opening my own company, but it won’t stand a chance against well-established companies.”

– Poloko Tau

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