Skilled and semi-skilled workers are more likely to get a job in the eThekwini metro, according to employment trends. Picture: Sbusiso Ndlovu
DURBAN - Skilled  and semi-skilled workers workers are more likely to get a job in the eThekwini metro, according to employment trends.

For the jobs created in Durban, only a fifth are absorbed by low-skilled people, while the rest went to skilled and semi-skilled workers, says Msawakhe Mayisela, an eThekwini Municipality spokesperson.

“There appears to be a strong link between education and skills, and there is a link between the level of skills and the chances of being employed. Therefore, the more skilled one isthey are, the more employable they are. However, this is not to say that all educated people are likely to be employed, rather that unemployment is exacerbated by a low degree of education,” says Mayisela. 

With regards to how the City townships and rural areas fare, Mayisela says: “Given that, unfortunately, education and skills challenges are more likely to be exacerbated in former township and rural areas, it is expected that this trend is worse herein. There is no Statistics SA survey that looks at these areas alone.”

For the City of Durban, unemployment was at 21.9 percent, according to StatsSA's quarterly labour force survey results for the second quarter of 2019. 

Being a metro, Durban's unemployment rate is lower than the country's average unemployment rate of 29 percent. Durban's unemployment rate is lower than that of the country's four other major metros (Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Cape Town). 

But Mayisela says the City has a higher proportion of discouraged work-seekers located in Durban compared to other cities. 

The City's says education is needed to address the region's unemployment. Education lies at the provincial and national level. 

The municipality says it will launch the City's new Accelerate and Inclusive Growth strategy (Shape Durban) soon. This is the collective planning of stakeholders from all spheres of Durban society aimed at solving the issue of unemployment in Durban. 

The lack of employment leads to social issues such as crime both on business and residents, reduced buying power, social unrest and increased inequality. Mayisela says it is in the best interest of all spheres of society to be involved in solving the problem.  

Durban is also upskilling the youth through Innovate Durban’s Youth Innovation Challenge – a programme that looks at skills for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Qhakaza Girls is a programme that addresses skills for 4IR amongst girls, including girls in schools (former township schools included). There are also other initiatives that the City is using to address unemployment by creating employment opportunities and upskilling of youth. 

He says the City is also providing incentives for investors, including rates rebates, to encourage investments to create jobs.

“Due to the importance of employment to the economy, a selection of interventions are being undertaken that include: cluster programmes for chemicals, clothing, textiles and furniture, automotives, the green economy, the agriculture of superfoods and ICT.

"These address manufacturing challenges by benchmarking them against global standards and assisting them to improve. This is important because manufacturing is a big employer for labour,” says Mayisela.