Job-hunting can exacerbate poverty for unemployed SA youth, study finds

The cost of job-hunting is one of the reasons many young people remain unemployed in South Africa.

Unemployment in the country has increased from 21.5% to 27.2% over the last decade.

Researcher Lauren Graham is part of a team that's collecting data for an ongoing study that explores the cost of looking for work.

The Siyakha Youth Assets for Employability Study assess whether government programmes are effectively helping young people in their efforts to find employment.

Young people are engaged in fairly intensive job search activities - which we would expect given the high rates of unemployment - but they are spending exorbitant amounts on the cost of work-seeking.

Lauren Graham, Director at Centre for Social Development In Africa - University Of Johannesburg

The study has found that young South Africans spend an average of R938 a month looking for work, Graham explains.

Transport, internet access, printing, application fees and agent’s fees are some of the expenses jobseekers face.

Graham argues that job-hunting has become a process that exacerbates poverty for low-income households.

They come from poor households, where the household income is about R2500 a month. The cost of work-seeking is a significant chunk of household income.

Lauren Graham, Director at Centre for Social Development In Africa - University Of Johannesburg

We argue that this makes it a poverty exacerbating process. Households have to make difficult decisions and it becomes complex for young people.

Lauren Graham, Director at Centre for Social Development In Africa - University Of Johannesburg

The study recommends that the government should invest more in labour centres and other support services to lessen the burden on young people and help them improve their prospects of finding work.

Listen to the discussion on The John Maytham Show:


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