Security guards, scooter drivers and call-centre agents are best options for jobless youth

20 June 2019 - 08:00 By Iavan Pijoos
Young South Africans are struggling to make ends meet amid spiralling unemployment.
Young South Africans are struggling to make ends meet amid spiralling unemployment.
Image: MIKE HUTCHINGS/REUTERS

Young people are desperate for work and slowly losing hope of ever finding employment.

According to Lulaway, the country's leading youth employment engine, South Africa has a dire unemployment rate of over 38%, with recent unemployment statistics signifying an increase in overall unemployment rates.

The company's CEO Jake Willis said it was critical for young people to strategically plan how to enter the job market, keeping in mind both long- and short-term goals.

"Keep your eye on the big picture - your eventual career goals, but know that these entry-level jobs develop your grit, your reliability and make you much more work-ready and liable to succeed in the future when you find your dream job," said Willis.

Luluway's top picks for breaking into the youth job market are: security guards, scooter drivers and outbound call-centre agents.

A report by the World Economic Forum predicts that machines will do more than 50% of all labour globally by 2025.

Students who specialises in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are well positioned to excel in the future world of work. 

"Students need to seriously consider choosing a field of study that is future-proof after graduation," said Rebecca Pretorius, country manager for Crimson Education.

Students need to seriously consider choosing a field of study that is future-proof after graduation.
Rebecca Pretorius

Meanwhile, the government has vowed to prioritise science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics at schools to equip the youth with skills to meet technological advances.

"Our young people need the necessary tools that they can use to navigate the changes these bring to the workplace and seize the opportunities that they present," President Cyril Ramaphosa told scores of young people at a Youth Day event in Polokwane, Limpopo, on Sunday.

This comes amid growing calls for government to address the high rate of unemployment.

Ramaphosa acknowledged that youth unemployment remained a national crisis, with over half of South Africans aged 15 to 24 unemployed.

He called on the private sector to get involved. "If we are to urgently address this, we need the active participation of the private sector to create pathways into work for young people who are prepared to learn, work hard and better themselves," said Ramaphosa.

Madelein Smit, managing director at HR Company Solutions, called on employers to be "realistic" when paying youth for entry level jobs.

"Employers will continue failing at recruiting and retaining younger employees if they do not align their expectations to those of prospective job seekers," she said.

"Often employers will ask job seekers to have a higher education qualification, their own transport and to live close by to their area of work, while offering to pay them less than the industry average.”

Employers will continue failing at recruiting and retaining younger employees if they do not align their expectations to those of prospective job seekers.
Madelein Smit

Sales and telemarketing jobs are the most in-demand positions in South Africa, according to a study by Gumtree.

Other top searches included construction work, accounting, financial jobs and logistics and transport jobs.

According to the site's marketing manager Estelle Nagel, 60% of frequently advertised jobs are full-time, 12% are contract positions and 8.5% are part-time.

Most require at least some form of qualification or experience. Only 0.35% of advertised positions are suitable for matriculants or recent graduates.

"Employers are always looking for skilled workers in these fields – sales executives being the most in-demand across provinces, while there are more construction vacancies in Gauteng than any other province," said Nagel.

"The job market is extremely tough and competitive, which is why anyone seeking to start a career should put their best foot forward." 


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