Youth Unemployment Among Graduates Remains An Issue

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Youth unemployment in South Africa is one the most important socio-economic challenges faced in the country. The issue has worsened so much so that for most young people that not even having a qualification has helped them find employment.

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According to data from Statistics South Africa, around 2.5 million out of the 10 million young people living in the country form part of the active work seekers, while the remaining 7.7 million youth are inactive job seekers.

Nepotism, corruption, and failure to manage youth unemployment over time amongst others are reasons why graduates believe they are unable to find jobs.  

These individuals say they were convinced their education would secure better lives for them, but they have been met with disappointment after endless rejections.

Vincent Mathibele, who has battled find employment has graduated with multiple degrees and is currently completing a masters degree, said he has watched other young people find jobs without having the necessary qualifications.

He expressed that every year they mention all these opportunities, but they hardly reach those who are deserving and qualified.

Public management lecturer, Dr Levy Ndou said that government needs to have measures that deter corruption and nepotism.

He adds, “When you talk about nepotism, you also talk about corruption. One of the challenges that government is facing is that of corruption and therefore nepotism.”

Ndou stressed that government needs to develop a conducive environment for businesses to build an economy that can continuously create jobs.

You need the government to be an enabler of ensuring that the environment is conducive enough for businesses to be successful and thrive and then businesses can respond by employing young people.

Meanwhile, the Higher Education sector says that many university students avoid programmes categorised as scarce and in demand skills, adding that this contributes to them not finding employment.

The department says that students are opting for Humanities programmes such as politics, international relations, languages and communications among others. 

Instead of registering for subjects such as science, engineering, and mathematics that will give them a better chance at finding jobs when they graduate.


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South Africa’s high youth unemployment rate has long been one of the most pressing socio-economic problems faced in the country. Government plans to launch additional interventions to increase employment among the youth.

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