Youth unemployment is 50% and lack of money to apply for a job is among other many reasons why youth unemployment is not decreasing.
Do you know how much it costs to apply for a single advertised job in South Africa?
The average monthly amount spent on actively searching for work is R550.
Transport fees amount to R350, and internet costs and printing fees average R200.
For young job seekers without any income, this is a huge financial strain and results in young people borrowing from family, friends or micro lenders, and exhausting their limited personal savings.
Companies do not as a rule consider application costs when looking for people to hire.
However, employers are very aware of the importance of recruiting from nearby geographic locations as the risk of drop-off is much higher when employers spend a large percentage on their salary on transport.
There are creative and cost-effective ways that companies can use to help young people decrease the cost of applying for a job:
• Online advertising of job openings. This allows people to find out about jobs without having to spend money on buying newspapers, and can access a diverse range of opportunities via online job portals;
• Allow for online job applications. By allowing youth to apply for a job online, the need to physically bring a CV to an office is eliminated, along with the associated transport and printing costs;
• As much as possible, do pre-screening telephonically to eliminate inviting completely unsuitable candidates for an interview;
• Consider a speed-interviewing event where a company partners with other similar employers within the industry, or other branches or departments within your company, to interview a large number of job seekers for a short amount of time. Each young applicant can interview with several different job openings. This will save the young work seeker hundreds of rands in transport fees, as well as be a very effective and efficient way for your company to screen through applicants;
• Consider a central location outside of your company’s premises for interviews, such as a local community hall, so that candidates don’t have to travel to the interview. This could coincide with a CSI initiative;
• For first-time employees, pay their first month salary in weekly instalments to allow them to cover their transport costs;
• Combine hiring activities (interviews and assessments) into one day so that young work seekers only have to pay for one travel journey instead of paying to come on different days for staged interviews and assessments;
• Utilise job creation databases. Bodies like the National Youth Development Agency and Gauteng City Region Academy have existing databases of thousands of pre-screened work seekers, with all their documentation attached. Employers can often access these databases for free and will save both parties money, time and resources.
There are creative ways in which young people can ensure they don’t spend much money on applying for a job.
A young person can do several things to limit the amount of money they spend on applying for a job as follows:
• Research the company and the job before you spend money travelling to an interview. If you know that you definitely don’t want to work in a call centre or in a factory, then don’t waste your time and money going to an interview;
• Maximise the value of your social network. Ask friends and family members if there are any openings at their workplace. A personal referral is often well received by employers, and you will have a feel of what the company is like and if it is potential fit;
• Use online portals as much as possible. Use the free job portals to easily access dozens of job openings. Indeed, gumtree, and even Facebook constantly post new job openings. Be smart and set up alerts which automatically inform when new jobs become available within certain locations or industries, for example; and
• Go local. Local government and non-profits often have job creation initiative within the community. Talk to your councillor or local representatives to find out about these initiatives.
There are programmes in communities that exist to help young people to cut costs when applying for jobs, and there are government bodies which offer young people to ability to apply for jobs for free.
The youth development agency is one such example, and the Gauteng City Region Academy is another example.
Young people can go to these offices, and complete an online application at no cost. Employers then will source from these database when job openings arise.
These offices are generally centrally located, meaning its usually one taxi ride away to the CBD, and the internet costs are covered by the agency.
There are also career fairs, or career drives, where youth employment organisations come into communities to recruit for certain programmes or projects.
Job seekers should read their local newspapers regularly as well as listen to local radio stations to find out about these opportunities as well as follow companies such as recruitment agencies on social media.
• Jake Willis is chief executive of the entry level recruitment company Lulaway.