There are many issues that compound the challenge of meaningful youth employment in South Africa. Poor basic education, little knowledge of career pathways and available opportunities, limited social networks, insufficient funds to apply for opportunities, unattractive labor laws and unrealistic workplace expectations. In fact, at over 60 percent, South Africa has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the world. Add the reality that labor costs have increased and many first-time job seekers don’t have the social knowledge, functional skills or work-ready behaviors required to succeed, and it’s unsurprising that employers have been deterred from hiring entry-level workers.
The South African government, in close partnership with business and civil society, has launched several large-scale initiatives that aim to increase the number of work opportunities available to the country’s youth. Complementing this is our passionate commitment to ensure that deserving young people gain access to entry level jobs, and that they then receive the necessary support to stay employed long enough to build valuable work experience.
Our aspiration is that by increasing the work readiness of candidates in tandem with improving job retention rates, employers will be encouraged to fill the estimated 500,000 entry-level vacancies that exist in the formal economy.
With that in mind, we’re working to increase the opportunities for South African youth to access and maintain meaningful employment. We’re convinced that this will lay the foundation for their future careers and financial prosperity. We’re partnering with organizations that bring creative and effective solutions to optimize job placements, increase work readiness and provide retention and progression support services to entry-level workers. This will enable South African youth to not only enter the job market, but to stay and thrive in careers that were not previously available to them.