Key Points:

  • Youth unemployment in South Africa is at crisis levels. According to the National Treasury, in 2012, the unemployment rate among people under the age of 25 who want work was about 50%.
  • While unemployed people cannot find work, employers often struggle to determine which of the (often numerous) applicants for a particular job is most suitable for the position. As average starting wages and other employment costs are high, and because dismissal and replacement procedures can be onerous, employers tend to see the employment decision as risky, and may be reluctant to employ unskilled, inexperienced people. This unfairly penalises young, inexperienced work seekers.
  • Given South Africa’s massive unemployment crisis, it is vital that the mechanisms that link available jobs and job-seekers from all backgrounds be as effective and efficient as possible. CDE evaluated the EPWP, SETAs and temporary employment services firms in order to assess the efficiency of some of these mechanisms.
  • These institutions play a vital role in the labour market, but they cannot solve the crisis of unemployment. Far more important, in this regard, is ensuring that many more jobs are created through sustained, more rapid and more labour-intensive growth.
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