Big shock in number of skilled jobs in South Africa

Only 17.7% of the jobs held by youth in South Africa are skilled, according to a new report by Stats SA.

The report highlights key differences in the labour market situation of youth aged 15 – 34 years relative to adults, and provides insight into the extent to which the youngest age cohorts are the most vulnerable in the South African labour market.

The National and provincial labour market, Youth Q1:2008-Q1:2015 report found that at national level, the vast majority of employed youth have either semi-skilled (53.1% in  2015) or low-skilled occupations (29.2%).

A relatively low proportion have skilled positions (17.7%).

A higher proportion of employed youth in Gauteng (25.3%) and Western Cape (20.2%) have skilled positions while the lowest proportions with such positions are in Limpopo (10.6%) and North West (11%).

skilled youth per province
Percentage of youth in skilled occupations

Young people aged 15-34 years account for a larger share of the working – age population than adults with 4.5 – 5.2 million in each of the youngest age cohorts in 2015.

Of the 31.5 million working age people aged 15 – 64 years in 2008, 18.2 million were youth aged 15 – 34 years while 13.3 million were adults aged 35 – 64 years.

Population growth over the subsequent years, meant that by 2015 the working-age population stood at 35.8 million of which 19.7 million (55%) were youth and 16.1 million (45%) were adults.

StatsSA found that as many as 32.9% of youth aged 15 – 24 are not in employment, education or training.

Percent not employed
Percentage of youth who are not employed

The data, rather obviously, found that the education level of employed youth has a direct influence on the types of jobs they are able to get.

Moreover, between  2008 – 2015, job losses among youth in SA occurred at every education level except among those with tertiary qualifications.

And despite an improvement in the level of education between 2008 – 2015, as many as 44.5% of employed youth and 50.3% of employed adults have education levels below matric, today.

long term youth unemployment
Long-term unemployment

In 2015, one in every two black African (54%) and coloured (53.3%) youth aged 15-24  years who had jobs, have education levels below the secondary level (matric), the report said.

In contrast, the proportion of the Indian/Asian and white population groups with that education level was substantially smaller at 17.3% and 12.4% respectively, StatsSA said.

Among youth aged 25 – 34 years the pattern is similar but the percentages in the lowest education categories are smaller.

In 2015, among employed black African and coloured youth aged 25-34 years, 48.4% and  48.5% respectively had education below the secondary level, while an additional 16.5% and 10.2% had a tertiary qualification.

Among the employed white and Indian/Asian population groups aged 25 – 34 years, 40 – 52% had a tertiary qualification.

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Big shock in number of skilled jobs in South Africa