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Staff Writer | 22 January 2024

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on businesses in the country to remove prior work experience requirements for job positions, in a bid to boost the employability of South Africa’s job-seeking youth.

In his weekly letter to the nation, the president said that the record success of the country’s matric class of 2023 means that thousands of fresh matriculants will be moving on to various tertiary institutions to further their education.

However, he said that there are many who will also move into the working world with just their matric, and called on “all of society” to make more job opportunities available to them.

“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,” he said.

Ramaphosa said that the government has made tax incentives available to businesses to encourage more youth employment, and said companies should make use of this avenue to ensure those seeking jobs can find them.

“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.”

South Africa’s 2023 matriculants set a new record, having passed with a national rate of 82.9% – the highest pass rate since the National Senior Certificate was introduced in 2008.

Matriculants who do not go on to further studies will be entering an extremely difficult work world, where unemployment remains unacceptably high.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the third quarter of 2023 saw the national unemployment rate improve to 31.9% – and 41.2% by the expanded definition which includes discouraged workseekers.

Youth unemployment, however, has reached alarming levels.

According to Stats SA, the country’s youth (aged 15 to 34, not involved in education or training) remain vulnerable in the labour market.

While the QLFS results showed that the total number of unemployed youth decreased by 174,000 to 4.6 million over the quarter, the overall unemployment rate for the segment still sits at 43.4%.

World Bank data pegs South Africa’s youth unemployment rate even higher at 51.5%, making it one of the highest rates in the world.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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