South Africa lost two million jobs between 2019 and 2021 due to the adverse impact of Covid-19 lockdowns, load shedding, and a myriad of other factors. In 2021 alone, the country lost a net 479,000 jobs as these elements forced companies to cut employment, professional services firm PwC said.
However, the group also cited a notable increase in resignations, highlighting data from Old Mutual Remchannel which shows that 36.4% of employment terminations in 2021 were due to resignations.
This was higher than a range of 28%-32% seen before Covid-19, PwC said. It noted that the majority of resignations were due to workers seeking an improved Employee Value Proposition (EVP), with issues such as remuneration, job fulfilment and team dynamics some of the key issues highlighted by employees.
PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022 found that money a primary driver in employment decisions is not enough by itself to retain global workers.
EVP factors like job fulfilment and the ability to be one’s true self at work were ranked second and third among employees considering a job change. The timing for organisations to place EVP at the top of their agendas as a priority, simply cannot be overemphasized.
Following last year’s further decline in jobs, the outlook for employment growth in 2022 is more positive.
Pnet’s Job Market Trends Report Q1 2022 shows that the number of vacancies in the local job market are at a record high. The sectors showing increased demand for workers in Q1 2022 compared to a year ago include:
- Medical and health services,
- Security and emergency services,
- Legal services.
According to Pnet, jobseekers in these occupations ‘are facing dramatically improved employment prospects compared to two years ago’.
The online e-recruitment company says the record high vacancy numbers reflect increased demand for workers which, in turn, signals an improvement in business confidence.
The RMB/BER Business Confidence Index (BCI) increased from 43 points in 2021Q4 to 46 in 2022Q1, returning to its long term average reading. While it was still below the breakeven level of 50 points, the first quarter reading is substantially better than the low of 5 points seen at the height of the COVID 19 pandemic.
PwC’s economic modelling, based on the historic relationship between economic and employment growth, forecasts that a net 220,000 formal and informal jobs could be created this year under a baseline scenario.
“Admittedly, last year’s expected increase in jobs – alongside a rebound in GDP growth – did not materialise, so these projections are made with caution,” the firm said.
“At the same time, the forecast job growth is insufficient to bring down the unemployment rate given that an estimated 450,000 adults will enter the labour force in 2022. As such, under our baseline scenario, the unemployment rate is expected to increase from 35.3% at the end of last year to 35.6% by the close of 2022 and 36.0% by the end of 2023.”