Durban — Afrika Tikkun Services (ATS) says digital skills are separating the haves and the have-nots in South Africa and its time equal access to this critical competence of education was emphasised in urgent economic intervention plans, the leading skills development and placement agency has warned.
ATS chief executive Onyi Nwaneri said the slight drop in South Africa’s employment rate as revealed by Statistics South Africa’s (StatsSA’s) Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) this week can only be a testament to the significance of digital skills development and adjusting to the changing working environment in the post Covid-19 pandemic era.
On Tuesday Statistics SA released the unemployment rate for the first quarter of the year and said it was the highest in the world. The unemployment rate increased by 0.2%, and 7.9 million people are unemployed.
Millions of skilled and unskilled South Africans, including breadwinners and the youth have re-entered the labour market over the past three years, with only those with in-demand skills managing to return to employment.
Nwaneri said: “In light of these developments, ATS, the division of Afrika Tikkun specialising in recruitment, training, placement and corporate transformation, calls for business and the government to invest in job-creating industries by providing the skills needed by workers to enter and sustain their place in the labour force, and the resources needed by small businesses to employ and up-skill them.”
Meanwhile, the United Association of South Africa (Uasa) says amidst all the unemployment challenges it will introduce an employment index, in partnership with the Bureau of Market Research, on Friday.
The union’s spokesperson Abigail Moyo said life was becoming so expensive that most South Africans operated in mere survival mode. She said that on the employment index, a review was done on job creation and GDP-employment linkages, looking at possible ways to address unemployment, improve the quality of labour supply and optimise compensation growth in South Africa.
“Uasa calls on policymakers, unions, employers, marketers, economists and business owners to be part of the solution,” said Moyo.
Moreover, Moyo said countless, fruitless call-outs had been made to the government to rectify the situation. Still, the government failed to produce even the bare minimum of service delivery.
“The industries the nation relies upon to create jobs crumble in front of our eyes. Any dreams of a technology-powered future are nipped in the bud without a continuous and sustainable electricity supply. The cherry on the cake is that Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, seems not to have achieved anything to improve the electricity supply after a few months in office,” said Moyo.
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