President Cyril Ramaphosa called on businesses on Monday to cull prior work experience for new job-seekers as they enter the work environment.
Ramaphosa hopes such an action would lead to more youth being employed in South Africa and that this would boost employability and reduce massive unemployment.
“As government, we have made the call for businesses to invest in our nation's future by employing more young people and, where possible, to do away with the requirement of prior work experience,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
Moreover, Ramaphosa asked that businesses make use of the Employee Tax Incentive (ETI) to employ more young employers.
The ETI is an incentive that was created by government in 2014 to encourage employers to hire young work-seekers.
“I encourage companies to use the Employee Tax Incentive to hire more young job-seekers, to make more training and mentorship opportunities available, and to sign up with the Youth Employment Service and other initiatives being rolled out in partnership with government,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa acknowledged that for people that come from disadvantaged backgrounds entering the job market is a way out of poverty and will impact specifically new matriculants that will now look for work. He emphasised that these young people must be given the hope and chance they need.
“As a country, we have laid the important groundwork for equitable access to education and ensured that young people are supported to finish school. It is now up to all of society to work together to ensure that every South African, young and old, is lifted out of poverty, given access to decent work and an opportunity to fulfil their true potential,” Ramaphosa added.
UNEMPLOYMENT IN 2024
Saifaddin Galal, a research expert at Statista said that SA expected to register the highest unemployment rate in Africa in 2024, with around 30% of the country's labour force being unemployed.
A large share of young people are among the unemployed in SA, and according to Galal, “around 52% of the young labour force are unemployed”.
In December, the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) showed that the unemployment rate decreased to its lowest level in a year in the third quarter, falling to 31.9% from 32.6% in the previous quarter.
This means that a total of 979,000 jobs were created.
SA has the world's second highest unemployment rate, with roughly eight million individuals of working age being unemployed, according to the International Monetary Fund.