Only 1 out of 5 SA youths find stable jobs for longer than 3 months

Unemployment is the biggest challenge facing youth. Picture: iStock
Unemployment is the biggest challenge facing youth. Picture: iStock

Only one out of every five South African youths manage to find stable jobs for longer than three months and for every one in four its even less than that, the employment agency Harambee has found.

Harambee, a non-profit organisation, recently conducted a survey among 150 000 job seekers and their findings are supported by companies’ data made available by the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

The Sars figures show that just 50% of annually registered posts are stable from year to year.

The figures show that permanent employment opportunities are incredibly limited in South Africa and the temporary employment opportunities are also characterised by lower salaries and attract young people with less knowledge and experience.

However, the research also shows that even a small amount of work experience doubles a job-seeker’s chances of being employed.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said in the state of the nation address and budget speech respectively, that partnerships with the private sector will play a key role if any progress is to be made in addressing the country’s unemployment problem.

One of these partnerships is with Harambee, which helps young people to find jobs.

In addition to placements with appropriate employers, Harambee also offers workshops to prepare young people for the labour market.

Over the past nine years, Harambee supported 725 000 job-seekers (who would otherwise have run the risk of long-term unemployment) with 165 000 posts and opportunities to gain work experience at more than 500 businesses.

One of them is 23-year-old Yamkela Tyira from Nyanga in Cape Town, who got a job at a call-centre after a short briding course offered by Harambee.

“Harambee taught me how to look for work, how to approach employers and what my CV should like. But what meant the most for me is that I’m not afraid of speaking in front of people anymore, after finishing the course.”

For the past two months, however, Tyira is again unemployed and is dependent on his mother, who gives him money from her state pension.

“I’m still looking for a job and I come to Harambee’s offices often to find out if an opportunity has come up.”

Another 23-year-old, Hartley Gentleman, of Khayelitsha, had a job for three months and is full of praise for what Harambee taught him.

“I learnt how to master myself and control my temper and that the sorts of decisions I make have an influence – not just on me – but also on the people around me.”

Gentleman’s placement was also only a three-month contract.

He tries to cut hair in his neighbourhood for an income when he is not looking for a job.

Harambee is also a good starting point for matriculants who want to enter the labour market.

Chloe Bodkin, a 19-year-old from Atlantis in Cape Town, is currently receiving Microsoft training from Harambee.

“My first priority is finding a job. But I want to become an occupational therapist one day – or if that doesn’t work out, maybe a beauty therapist.”

Maryana Iskander, CEO of Harambee, told City Press’ sister publication, Rapport, that the organisation has been working with government to tackle youth unemployment.

The latest partnership is with the National Treasury’s employment fund, and is aimed at creating large-scale employment.


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