New research aimed at matric leavers in South Africa shows that the more time invested in education, the greater the reward.
This is according to trade union Solidarity, warning that obtaining a matric certificate is not enough to land a good job in SA.
Solidarity stressed that there are exceptions to this principle, but added that such exceptions are rare.
The Solidarity Research Institute, in its latest report on employment prospects for matriculants, emphasised the fact that the modern economy required far more knowledge from young people than that offered by way of a matric certificate.
“The report states that a matric certificate does not seem to have a significant effect on a person’s chances of finding employment,” said Solidarity spokesperson, Francois Redelinghuys.
Statistics South Africa currently estimates the number of working people in South Africa aged 15 to 64 at around 15.8 million. It puts the official unemployment rate at 25.5%, while Solidarity has out the ‘broad’ unemployment rate at 34.4%.
The current employment rate is at 43.8%.
If South Africa wanted to match the average OECD employment rate of 65.3%, the country would need to have 7.8 million more working people even before factoring in any population growth. This means an increase of the current 15.88 million to 23.6 million working people, the report said.
It showed that the country’s labour market has already been swamped for decades by a vast oversupply of people with little or no training at all.
Be it directly or indirectly, pay is inextricably linked to the value people add (productivity).
Approximately 75% to 80% of all people with some or other form of tertiary education do indeed have work, Solidarity said.
Moreover, tertiary education increases potential earnings because a person who has more knowledge and the ability to apply such knowledge is able to add more value.
“Among working people with matric as their highest qualification, only some 30% earned more than R6,400 a month in 2011, while in the group of working people with matric and a certificate or a diploma, more than 50% earned a monthly salary of more than R6,400. And that percentage exceeded 80% whenever a degree was presented,” Redelinghuys said.
Earnings vs education findings:
- Fewer than 5% of all working people with no education earned more than R6,400 per month in 2011. The same applies to working people with completed or incomplete primary school education.
- At the level of those with an incomplete secondary schooling, without other post – school education, income levels are again slightly higher with around 10% of this group earning more than R6,400 per month in 2011.
- For people with matric as highest qualification – almost 30% earned more than R6,400 per month in 2011, and more than 13% earned more than R12,800 per month.
- For people who do not have matric, but who do hold some form of tertiary diploma or certificate – nearly 50% of them earned more than R6,400 per month in 2011, and more than 25% of them earned more than R12,800 per month.
- The group of working people who hold a matric certificate as well as a certificate or diploma constitutes the first group where more than 50% earn more than
R6,400 per month. The income of more than 30% exceeds R12,800 per month, and 9.1% earn more than R25,600 per month. A substantial group of 8.1% earned even more than R25,600 per month.
- For people holding university degrees, higher diplomas or equivalent qualifications – almost 80% of this group earned more than R6,400 in 2011. More than half earned more than R12,800 per month and nearly 25% earned more than R25,600 per month. A significant 7% even earned in excess of R51,200 per month.
- For an honours degree or higher – more than 85% of this group earned more than R6,400 per month in 2011; approximately 68% earned more than R12,800 per month; 38% earned more than R25,600 per month; and around 16% earned more than R51,200 per month.
“Those people who are receiving matric certificates in 2016 and who wish to start working right away will probably find it difficult – especially those seeking well-paid jobs. Of course, we are not trying to dissuade anyone to apply for a job – any job. However, the best option remains further training,” Redelinghuys said.