Are SA graduates more likely to find employment?
According to the latest stats released by Stats SA for Q1 2019, unemployment impacts most heavily on South Africa’s youth in the 15 -24 age group, with the youth in this age group experiencing an unemployment rate of 55.2 %. Graduates fared better than their non-graduate peers, with an unemployment rate of 31,0% during this period. However, compared to the graduate unemployment rate of 19.5% for Q4 of 2018, the graduate unemployment rate increased 11,4 percentage points quarter-on-quarter.
“However, as Stats SA points out, the graduate unemployment rate is still lower than the rate among those with lower educational levels, meaning that education remains key to these young people’s prospects’ improving in the South African labour market,” states Ari Katz, CEO of Boston City Campus..
“Graduation emerges as the best indicator of successful employment in the workplace. This is evident when comparing the statistics of youth in the 15 – 24 year old category with an unemployment rate of graduates at 31 % while youths who have other tertiary qualifications, a matric and less than a matric have an unemployment rate of 47,5%, 55%, and 58,4%, respectively,” states Katz.
Stats SA reports that the burden of unemployment is concentrated amongst the youth (aged 15–34 years), accounting for 63,4% of the total number of unemployed persons.
This means that almost 4 in 10 young people in the labour force are without a job, with the unemployment rate within this group at 39,6% in the 1st quarter of 2019. Just under 30% of the youth have jobs and about half of them (48,8%) participate in the labour market.
“Education levels, a stable economy and labour market are key factors which can contribute to alleviating unemployment in South Africa. In turn, this will enable households to achieve economic stability,” says Katz.
Using these stats as motivation, Boston Has created a unique programme in the education market. Called Graduate Support Services, it includes a process to follow starting at the graduate’s branch and following through the HOD of the support programme. “The intention is to provide a number of practical steps for the graduate to follow, hand-holding if you will, to assist the graduate step by step to eventual successful job placement. “ In fact “, says Katz, “ we believe in this programme, together with our quality education to such an extent, that should the graduate who has adhered to all our T’s and C’s and all our recommendations and still not find a successful placement, we will give the graduate a postgraduate scholarship.”
According to a 2018 World Bank Report Overcoming Poverty and Inequality in South Africa: An Assessment of Drivers, Constraints, and Opportunities; a higher level of education of the household head and having access to stable labor market income, are key determinants for households to achieve economic stability in South Africa.
“Living in a household where the head has attained some tertiary education reduces the average risk of poverty by about 30 percent compared to those living in households where the head has no schooling,” says the report which states that poverty also tends to be a more temporary phenomenon for those with higher labor market earnings.
“The World Bank’s report emphasis on education, echoes that of Stats SA,” says Katz. “Supporting opportunities to provide tertiary education is the responsibility of government and all educational institutions. Additionally, tertiary educational institutions need to implement specific programmes such as the Boston Graduate Support Services Programme, which facilitate graduate’s employment in the workplace.”
“Our youth need to be equipped to maximise workplace opportunities. As educators we can further equip them with entrepreneurial skills, where our graduates are groomed in leadership, enabling them to start new businesses while contributing to the creation of new employment opportunities which sets up a virtuous cycle of job creation,” concludes Katz.