Unemployment crisis in South Africa

by Kimberly Flanagan

Unemployment in South Africa has reached an 11-year high and now sits at 29 percent. I feel I need to repeat that;
Unemployment is at its highest in 11 years.
That’s not just a problem for those who don’t have work, that’s a problem for the entire economy of our country.
This latest data was released by Stats SA last week Tuesday and if we’re honest, we should all be worried.

If you’re asking how someone else’s unemployment affects me, then here are a few answers:

– You end up doing the job of three people but only get paid for the job of one.
– That means longer hours and less pay.
– That also means more stress which will eventually affect your health.
– Crime rates increase when people are frustrated because they can’t find jobs.
– The production of goods and services are also affected which in turn affects your pocket.
– Investors don’t want to invest in a country where unemployment is high and that also negatively impacts the economy and therefore can also affect your pocket.
– And if no one invests, it’s difficult to create new jobs.

Earlier this year an article by GroundUp showed that South Africa’s unemployment is the highest in the world, just imagine that. Let it sink in. In the entire world, South Africa is at the top of the list when it comes to unemployment.
As if we don’t have enough problems already.

Unemployment further feeds poverty and crime and inequality. The more unemployment grows, the harder it will be to get out of these socio-economic problems.

Additional data released by Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator indicates that South African women are carrying heavy burdens in the job market. Not only do they struggle to enter the job market because of various factors but they also face many barriers when they do get hired. Some of the problems women face as found by Harambee are:

• Women are less likely to be hired compared to men
• Fewer women complete high school so that makes it difficult for them to get jobs
• Women have less time to look for work because some of them are looking after younger siblings and their homes.
• Women are less likely to have their license which makes it difficult to get their first job.

So what can we do?

The first and obvious one is to encourage entrepreneurship. I know it’s easier said than done and you will most likely spend money before you make money but in the long run, having your own business can provide security that you won’t otherwise have when you’re working for someone else.
You also create employment for others when you decide to go the entrepreneurial route which is a big gift to someone who doesn’t have a job.

The second thing that I want to personally suggest is that you either save as much money as you can or invest your money in some sort of portfolio for those days if you are without a job or can’t take care of yourself.
Again, this is easier said than done, I’m still struggling with that myself.

Something else that I can suggest works, even if you don’t get paid for it, those skills that you learn in an unpaid internship will benefit you when you decide to become an entrepreneur.

And let’s not forget the Fourth Industrial Revolution, I’m sure everyone has a picture in their head of a robot taking over their jobs, right?
Well, if we think about it, you could be right but that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged. You should jump on that 4IR bus and find ways you can contribute. Share your ideas and skills and don’t be left behind as the future approaches.

Always continue learning, learn new skills, polish your talents and use your gifts to contribute positively to society.

Also, ladies, get your licence. We can’t let a small thing like that keep us from getting that dream job.

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