Key Points:

  • South Africa’s missing 6 million jobs lie behind the country’s most pressing problems: our stubbornly high levels of poverty and inequality, our many social crises, and our increasingly tense and dysfunctional politics.
  • South Africa needs a jobs strategy that will employ far more unskilled and inexperienced workers.
  • Employment growth is closely correlated with economic growth; put differently, jobs are created when economies grow and vice versa. While choosing the right job-creation strategy is essential, the first and overarching priority should be to find a higher growth path for the South African economy as a whole.
  • By driving up the costs and regulatory risks associated with employing people, the implementation of the decent work agenda has priced unskilled workers out of the labour market. In the eyes of our policy-makers, work that is not ‘decent’ is worse than no work. The implication is that no wage is better than a low wage.
  • A job is by far the most powerful motor for inclusion and enhanced human dignity.
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