Why thinking ‘jobs’ instead of ‘work’ is holding young South Africans back

Barloworld Logistics has unveiled a key insights report around how young people view work in South Africa and how it impacts their expectations and the way in which they pursue employment.

“Closer observation of the research raised the question as to whether our high unemployment creates a negative ‘job’ mentality,” said Shirley Duma, HR Director at Barloworld Logistics.

Duma noted that the act of seeking a job in South Africa is about the immediate need for an income – irrespective of the work or task involved in a society where unemployment is high.

She compared this to a “work mentality” which is associated more with secure employment that creates value, adds rewards to performance and establishes an opportunity for sustained income and a career assisted by the ability to gain greater skills.

“The prevailing ‘job’ mentality in SA today is possibly a barrier to increasing employment opportunities and economic improvement – both in the commercial as well as industrial sectors,” added Duma.

These perceptions (job vs work) become increasingly critical when the employee is not performing work of particular personal interest and which does not fall into the category of being a vocation, said the report.

The “job” is regarded as a means of earning whatever income one can secure for the least effort – with little interest in the work itself. This kind of attitude is perhaps influenced and perpetuated primarily by the lack of job opportunities for a large number of relatively unskilled people.

“But even when ‘jobs’ are secured, the opportunity for enhancement is often not available, seen or taken by employees,” Duma said.

“To break this apparent limitation to employability and personal development, society needs to introduce and exhibit more relevant standards that are responsive to a changing and growing economy in which education, training and skills become of paramount importance.”

She highlighted countries such as Singapore, which have a strong vision of an educated and prosperous society rewarded by their skills and ability requires committed leadership with a national goal. This vision and strategy is necessary to achieve a change in the fortunes of the unemployed and the development of the country itself.

Read: 5 strange jobs in South Africa that are surprisingly in demand

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Why thinking ‘jobs’ instead of ‘work’ is holding young South Africans back