According to Statistics South Africa, the unemployment rate among the country’s youth – accounting for individuals aged 15 to 24 – stands at 63,2%.
As the emerging workforce, these individuals find themselves in a difficult position; due to the economic downturn and their lack of experience, they are struggling to secure employment.
The fate of recent matriculants is even more distressing, as not everyone has the means for tertiary education. Clearly this highlights an urgent need for South Africa to establish a workforce that can gain skills and training without the prerequisite of a degree.
Temporary employment services (TES) providers can have a significant impact on alleviating the situation, providing vital training and skills development along with learnership placements to the youth.
The already bleak future of youth unemployment worsened as a staggering 2 million jobs were lost in 2020 after the nationwide economic shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Seeking employment can be incredibly tough without tertiary qualifications, basic skills and much-needed experience.
Times have changed drastically.
Job seekers no longer pick up a newspaper to find local vacancies, and they expect to be employed immediately.
Given that so many individuals are actively seeking employment, a creative approach to the job market is required. It is therefore important that youth do everything in their power to stand out from the rest.
From the perspective of the TES provider, we need to shift our focus from qualifications and start looking at the individual.
Passion to work and enthusiasm to learn are what make a person stand out from the crowd.
With our country striving towards economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is critical for our youth to take any opportunity to gain valuable work experience and participate in multi-skilled training and refinement programmes.
As a starting point, TES is an ideal solution that could possibly reduce the high youth unemployment rate through placements, learnerships and skills programmes in the business services and technical sectors.
Other industries that are likely to benefit from placing younger people in entry-level jobs include retail and e-commerce, engineering, construction, contact centres, telecoms, warehousing and logistics.
Temporary employment solutions are not just for job seekers, as these services can be of great benefit to businesses and sectors currently faced with financial constraints.
Many companies are currently hesitant to hire new people on a permanent basis because of uncertainty in the future.
Due to the expected third wave of Covid-19 infections, we are unsure if work is going to be steady through the winter.
It is time to rebuild the future seriously, urgently exploring skills gained through experience.
Despite formal qualifications, universities are not churning out graduates that are ready for the job market.
The gap between skills and opportunity needs to be tightened to balance the need of enhanced youth skill sets while combating the issues of unemployment.
To attain economic recovery, the public-private sector and TES providers must work together in creating a skilled youth workforce.
Experience earned in entry-level jobs is key to unlocking better employment opportunities.
It is therefore important for the young generation to bear in mind that an entry-level job is better than no job.