There is a mismatch in South Africa’s economy between the structural direction in which it is headed and its current skills profile, says Dr Azar Jammine, director and chief economist of Econometrix.
Jammine says that while the economy is creating 194 000 jobs, according to formal-sector statistics, 368 000 students passed matric last year.
“You can see the problem — we are not creating enough jobs,” he emphasises.
While the economy is clearly headed in the direction of a need for skilled labour via advances in the tertiary sector, the sectors that employ large numbers of unskilled labour — mining and agriculture — are declining in importance.
Analysing South Africa’s Labour Force Survey, Jammine notes that fewer than 400 000 jobs were created over six years. Notably, he points out that 455 000 jobs were lost in agriculture over those six years.
“This also gives reason to doubt the effect of minimum-wage legislation introduced in 2000 for farmworkers. This is very different from the way they work in China,” he adds.
“The level of employment is not commensurate with growth,” he says. “The sad part is that notwithstanding relatively rapid GDP [at 5%], the amount of jobs being created remains very disappointing.” — I-Net Bridge