SA jobs outlook weakest in five years

2020-01-08 06:01
photo: Moeketsi MamaneAmanda Msomi (left) Inganathi Manyamalala say they love supporting small business owners who have chosen to use their talents to make a living during this tough economic climate, when jobs are scarce.

photo: Moeketsi MamaneAmanda Msomi (left) Inganathi Manyamalala say they love supporting small business owners who have chosen to use their talents to make a living during this tough economic climate, when jobs are scarce.

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Lyndy van den Barselaar, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup SA, said an overall sluggish economy had taken its toll.

“As we move into the new year, the South African economy continues to be affected by subdued economic growth and a sluggish growth outlook. Policy uncertainty and a high unemployment rate remain a deep concern for local businesses who are looking to the new year with caution when it comes to their spending and hiring strategies,” she said.

Best and worst regions

Employers in 3 of 5 regions surveyed expected to add to payrolls in the first quarter of 2020, with the Western Cape coming up strongest (+4%) followed by Gauteng (+3%) and KwaZulu-Natal (+2%).

Eastern Cape employers reported considerably more downbeat hiring prospects at -5%, while the Free State stood at -1%. Eastern Cape Employers reported a decline of 13 percentage points compared to the previous quarter, and 14 percentage points compared to a year ago.

Outlooks weakened by 5 and 3 percentage points in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal compared with the last quarter. Hiring prospects were relatively stable in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Compared with a year ago, hiring plans weakened by 4 percentage points in Gauteng and 3 percentage points in the Western Cape.

What’s making the best regions work?

According to Van Den Barselaar, key initiatives - notably in the energy sector - have contributed towards a more positive outlook in certain regions.

“The Western Cape government continues to focus on development in the region through several initiatives, such as one initiative that is focusing on diversifying the province’s energy mix through an uptake in sustainable energy sources.

“This could create employment for those with skills in developing, installing and maintaining these sustainable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic panels, for example.”

Collaboration between the public and private sectors also helps, she said.

“Another provincial initiative looks to encourage direct engagement between the government and the private sector, with sectors such as construction, manufacturing, IT, business process outsourcing and transport participating. These kinds of initiatives look to spur growth and promote job growth, which could contribute to the positive outlook for the province in the coming quarter,” she said.

— Compiled by Marelise van der Merwe, News 24

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