It is a constant and gnawing reminder of potential that has gone unrealised for 10 years.

A large portrait of a bright-eyed young woman draped in a black graduation robe looms over a spotless, tiled lounge in Protea Glen, a suburb of Johannesburg’s Soweto township.

It is a constant and gnawing reminder of potential that has gone unrealised for 10 years.

“It’s like you go to school, you go to school… and then once you are qualified you sit with a whole stack of certificates that you can’t actually use,” 36-year-old Kgomotso Sebabi said.

Armed with qualifications in wealth management, she migrated in 2008 from the small, central city of Kimberley to South Africa’s financial hub, Johannesburg, in pursuit of opportunities.

To date, the holder of two bachelor’s degrees has failed to find a job in her field.

She has since acquired three more post-graduate certificates in a bid to enhance her chances, but all she has managed to secure is a part-time job at a call centre.

“Initially I wanted to see myself grow within the financial sector, maybe become a manager… a finance chief executive or something. But it didn’t go as planned,” she told AFP.

A quarter of a century into democracy, South Africa has an official unemployment rate of 27.1%.

Among people under 35 the rate is about 53% – among the highest in the world.

Causes of unemployment in South Africa are many and complex, the biggest factor being a slow-growing economy which has failed to produce jobs at the pace at which new graduates enter the market.

The government repeatedly vows, especially on the elections campaign trail, to create desperately needed jobs.

According to chief labour statistician Malerato Mosiane, unemployment remained stubbornly high even as the population grew rapidly.

Media graduate Tswelopele Maputla, 22, completed her journalism studies in November 2018 at Rhodes University but has been nowhere near a newsroom. She mails out job applications whenever she can.

“It’s been incredibly difficult and demotivating,” said Maputla as she finished cleaning her mother’s house in Daveyton township east of Johannesburg.

“I have the skills and it’s just disheartening that I can’t get that one break that I need to prove myself.”


As South Africa heads to the polls on 8 May, the promise of jobs has once again become election bait.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed that his African National Congress (ANC) will create “many more” jobs. The party has been in power for 25 years and will, according to all polls, win the majority vote yet again.

“We will be able to create up to 275,000 additional jobs each year,” Ramaphosa said at the ANC’s election manifesto launch in January.

Mmusi Maimane, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance, meanwhile recently told supporters in Johannesburg: “I have a dream of putting a job in every home.”

And Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of the far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has warned that South Africa “cannot postpone the jobs question”.

But the promises are up against a lacklustre economy.

The International Monetary Fund in April lowered South Africa’s projected GDP growth rate for 2019 from 1.4% to 1.2%, citing policy uncertainty which with high levels of corruption and recurrent electricity blackouts, has harmed investor confidence.

The massive unemployment rate is seen as fuelling apathy among many young voters.

The electoral commission has recorded a 47% drop in registered voters aged 18 and 19. About two-thirds of the nine million eligible voters who did not bother to register are under 30-years-old.

“I’m not voting,” said unemployed agriculture graduate Xhanti Ndondela, 26, who qualified in 2016. “Why should I vote for a government that I will never work for?”


With the dawn of democracy, access to higher education has improved, with the number of graduates from public universities more than doubling from 92,874 in 2000 to 203,076 in 2016.

But there are just not enough jobs to go around.

The government’s target is to cut unemployment by half, to about 14% by 2020, but this is “unlikely to occur”, says the World Bank in a 2018 report.

“Overall, since 1994, a growing economy created many jobs in South Africa, but not enough to significantly reduce unemployment,” said the bank.

The former statistician-general and now Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative consultant, Pali Lehohla, has warned of a self-perpetuating crisis.

“We are caught in that process where unemployment, poor education and poverty itself are reinforcing one another. There is going to be a tipping point no doubt,” he told eNCA television news network.

Source EWN


South Africa Tops with Highest Number of Unemployed Youth

By Vera Shawiza

South Africa leads with the highest number of unemployed youths globally at 52.8 percent. South Africa’s high youth unemployment rate is one of the greatest issues facing the nation’s economic prospects.

Greece comes in second as a country with the highest number of unemployed youths, a figure that stands at 36.8 percent with Spain following closely at 34.9 percent.

Young people were estimated to account for over 35 percent of the unemployed population worldwide in 2017. While the global youth unemployment rate stabilized at 13.0 percent in 2016 and it was expected to rise slightly to 13.1 percent in 2018.

As of 2017, 39 percent of young workers in the emerging and developing world, an approximate of 160.8 million youth were living in moderate or extreme poverty, i.e. on less than $3.10 a day.

More than two in every five young people in today’s workforce are unemployed or are working but poor, a striking reality that is impacting society across the world.

For many of them, their present and future lie in the informal economy. Globally, three out of four employed young women and men are in informal employment, compared to three in five adults. In developing countries, this ratio is as high as 19 out of 20 for young women and men.

The youth employment challenge is therefore not just about job creation, but also – even more so – about the quality of work and decent jobs for youth.

The youth unemployment crisis, specifically in the context of the global employment situation is, along with climate change, the great challenge of our time.

As debates broaden about the future of work in the context of the current industrial revolution, what seems clear is that the chronic unemployment and job instability affecting young people, in addition to their distrust of politics, hold devastating consequences for society as a whole.

Every year around the world, 40 million young people (400 million in a decade) join a labor market that is not growing enough. Around 70 million out of the 200 million people out of work are young and if the economy does not prove capable of finding a solution, we are going to find ourselves with a lost generation bringing with it a loss of human capital, social exclusion, and dislocation.

The quality of the jobs available also poses a great challenge. The crisis has accelerated the replacement of quality jobs with those that are not. At the same time, social protection policies have been weakened and there has been a fracturing of the social contract.

If nothing is done to tackle global youth unemployment, the consequences will be significant; all that remains to be seen is in what sense. Economic, social and employment policies need to be geared towards resolving this problem, given that the youth employment crisis is behind all kinds of phenomena.

Here is a list of Countries with the Highest number of Unemployed youth across the world:

South Africa: 52.8%
Greece: 34.9%
Spain: 34.9%
Nigeria: 33.1%
Italy: 32.5%
Iran: 32.5%
Morocco: 27.5%
Serbia: 27.5%
Algeria: 26.4%
Croatia: 23%
Albania: 22.6%
Sri Lanka: 22.5%
France: 21.5%
Portugal: 21.4%
Turkey: 20.8%
Cyprus: 19%
Belgium: 18.9%

This articles was first published on Soko Directory