How Skills Demand Is Contributing To Rising Unemployment

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Employment statistics for the third quarter of 2022 have recently been released by Stats SA and the outcome is not favourable for the country’s graduates. This poses the long-standing question of whether the country is availing the right employment opportunities relative to graduates produced by tertiary institutions.

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The current official unemployment rate for the second quarter of 2022, according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), is 33,9%. The number of employed people rose by 262,000 to 14.5 million, the number of jobless people increased by 278,000 to 7.9 million, and the labour force increased by 540,000 to 22.5 million. 

However as the country appears to be making significant improvements in combating unemployment, the slow pace raises the question of whether the country is producing the right kind of jobs considering the currently existing skills shortage in the labour sector.

Dr Asghar Adelzadeh of the Economic Modelling Academy explained the situation by stating that skilled demand is based on the prospect of employment and economic growth, as well as the sectoral makeup of that growth.

He adds that while these corresponding sectors now have various occupational and skill frameworks The country's biggest problem in terms of skills demand and supply, level of economic growth and prospects reveals where this field demand and supply and shortages are most severe.

The issue of South Africa's skills scarcity has been noted by the Department of Higher Education and Training. In August last year, the DHET's Minister, Blade Nzimande stated that they are finalising their skills and innovation strategy. Both these strategies will support the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP).

He added that given that the absence of work experience is frequently a barrier to young people getting lucrative and long-term employment, targets are set for placing graduates in companies so that they are job-ready for easy integration into the world of work.

South Africa's Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector has received a major facelift to produce graduates capable of contributing to the growth of the local economy.

TVET Colleges and Universities' curricula have also been strengthened to better reflect the skills needed by both the domestic and global economies.


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