Five years and still no job – survey

A quarter of the country’s unemployed have been looking for work for more than five years, according to a survey.

“The chances of finding work after being out of the workplace for more than five years, or perhaps having never worked, are likely to be slim in a labour market saturated with low and unskilled workers, but in need of experienced and skilled labour,” said SA Institute of Race Relations researcher Lucy Holbron today.

There were 4.5 million people classified as officially unemployed, because they would like to work and had been actively looking for jobs, she said.

The figure did not include about 3.2 million discouraged job seekers.

“All of this suggests that there may be large numbers of people who are simply unemployable.”

Solutions to the problem would need to include the provision of education and skills to provide a better match between what the labour market needed and what it was being supplied.

“In the meantime, relaxing labour regulations to reduce the cost and risk of hiring people could help to dent levels of unemployment that have been persistently high for over 10 years,” said Holbron.

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