South Africa’s youth unemployment rate has reached an all-time high in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbating the issue, and it’s going to get worse. Many graduates struggle to find employment due to a range of factors, including corruption, a lack of job opportunities, and a lack of preparation for the realities of the job market.
Youth unemployment is a major problem in South Africa, and it’s a challenge that Kuhle, Zanele, and Tayira know all too well. As employees at CSR News, they have firsthand experience with the difficulties of finding stable employment as a young person in South Africa.
Kuhle, for example, struggled to find work after completing her BA in Public Management and Government. Despite having brief jobs in multiple industries, she found it challenging to secure a long-term position. Eventually, Kuhle was so keen on a job that she was willing to work at CSR News without pay due to the lack of work opportunities available.
Zanele’s experience was not much better. After completing her BCom Law degree, she worked in a few positions and even owned a business. However, it took her three long years to finally land a job as a partnership officer at CSR News. Zanele believes that corruption is a major problem in South Africa, as jobs are often given to people based on their connections rather than their qualifications. Moreover, she notes that corporations often want individuals with over 5 years of experience, making it nearly impossible for young people to enter the job market.
Tayira, who studied BSc Mass Communication in Nigeria because it was cheaper, also had trouble finding work. Despite her qualifications, she struggled to secure a job until CSR News gave her a chance as a communication coordinator. According to Tayira, South African corporates still struggle with diversity, and the country’s fundamental education system does not adequately prepare young people for the reality of the job market. Additionally, she points out that young South Africans are often discouraged by false promises of a bright future after studying, only to find that there are no jobs available to them.
These stories highlight the struggles that many young South Africans face when trying to find work. Despite their qualifications, experience, and passion, they often find themselves at a disadvantage due to a lack of opportunities and other systemic issues. The government, the private sector, and civil society must work together, with a new approach, to create more job opportunities and provide young people with the skills and training they need to succeed in the job market.