In the first quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate stood at 30.1%, with the youth unemployment crisis showing little sign of improvement.
But when the national economy was shut down due to the Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions, to reduce the country’s risk of contamination, it is the same citizens who those regulations were meant to protect who suffered the most.
With companies retrenching and cutting back on staffing needs as demand plummeted, the South African economy shed 2.2 million jobs in the second quarter of 2020.
But, along with job loss came a decrease in active job seekers, mostly due to circumstances related to Covid-19.
As life slowly returns to normal, one can expect that the labour force participation rate, or those actively seeking work, will rapidly increase – a positive sign of the economy opening up.
As the academic year comes to an end, even more graduates will be hunting for jobs, making it extremely difficult for job seekers to secure jobs and participate in the labour force.
More than ever before, job seekers need to stay ahead of the game – arming themselves with skills and resources, and opening themselves to opportunities – if they want to succeed in a post-pandemic world.
We are seeing an uptick in requests for staff across the industry, in preparation for the holiday season, as well as a general feeling of confidence in the market and the need to add staff to operate optimally.
Job seekers should not feel despondent, but rather should explore what opportunities are available. The following three courses of action are suggested for anyone looking for work:
• Take advantage of the gig economy.
While your long-term career goals may be different from what’s available, the gig economy is set to explode and you can cash in.
Whether it be a scooter driver for food delivery services (where you can earn more than R6 000/month working on your own schedule) or a holiday job in a retail store, you want to set yourself apart with real work experience. It will build up your resumé, and your bank balance, while you search for your dream job.
• Upskill yourself with free nano-courses online.
Tech-based skills are in high demand – locally and globally. When it comes to jobs like digital marketing, social media management and tech-based skills, it’s not about your degree for an entry-level job.
You can take free courses on Google Academy, Udemy or the like. If you have the proficiency and skills, you are much more likely to land a job like this.
It also shows a potential employer that you are proactive and have a growth mind-set.
• Consider volunteer work.
Volunteer work can be a useful way to build up your resumé if you have your eyes set on a specific field.
If there is an organisation in your community that could use some of your abilities (such as marketing and administration) you could offer your services for free, in exchange for a recommendation, a potential network and the experience you will gain.
Willis is the CEO and co-founder of Lulaway