These South Africans are the most qualified – and the most unemployed

 ·29 Oct 2023

Despite having greater levels of tertiary education, South African women face higher levels of unemployment.

Using data from Stats SA’s 2022 census, Pnet noted that 12.8% of adult females have post-school qualifications compared to just 11.6% of adult males.

However, according to the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), the male unemployment rate stands at 30%, whereas the female unemployment rate is significantly higher at 35.7%.

Only white women in South Africa (38.5%) have fewer post-school qualifications than their male counterparts (40.1%).

Black/African, coloured and Indian/Asian women all have higher levels of post-school qualifications than the males in their respective racial groups.

“Taking a deep dive into the local job market and looking at female jobseekers, we see that particularly more and more young women (below age 35) attain tertiary qualifications,” Pnet said

“Pnet’s own findings show that 20% of female jobseekers age 35 and older attained a tertiary qualification, while 23% of female jobseekers below age 35 have a tertiary qualification.”

There are more women studying traditionally male-dominated fields.

Pnet said that there has been an increase in the ratio of young women with territory education vs women aged 35 and older in engineering, electronic equipment installation and plant and production control.

Source: Pnet

That said, there has been an increase in the number of women in male-dominated occupations outside of just younger generations.

From August 2018, the number of female professionals in the IT Project Administration / Management sector grew by 9%, whilst the percentage of female professionals in the Army/Air Force /Navy increased by 15%.

The engineering sector (+12%), personal security (+12%), architecture (+7%) and several others saw increases in female representation.

Source: Pnet

“Overall, it is clear that there is a significant drive within the female population to find the right job and profession,” Pnet said.

“Women applying for jobs are outpacing their male counterparts: Over the last 12 months, the majority (51%) of applicants were female while only 39% were male.”

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