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Graduate Unemployment in the Face of Skills Shortages: A Labour Market Paradox

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Author Info

  • Kalie Pauw
  • Morné Oosthuizen
  • Carlene van der Westhuizen

    ()
    (Development Policy Research Unit,University of Cape Town)

Abstract

There is consensus among analysts that South Africa’s unemployment is structural in the sense that the unemployed generally possess lower skills than what is required in the marketplace. In the context of increasing demand for skilled workers due to technical progress and the need to become more competitive globally, graduate unemployment would be expected to fall. This paper investigates the nature of graduate unemployment in South Africa since 1995, finding that labour force and employment growth has been concentrated in higher educational categories. However, against expectations unemployment has risen amongst young and better educated people. The paper suggests that the education sector urgently requires continued emphasis and monitoring to ensure that learners are adequately prepared for entry into the labour force; that greater efforts be made to encourage learners to choose directions of study with superior employment prospects; and that investment in young people’s soft skills is required.

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File URL: http://www.dpru.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/36/DPRU%20WP06-114.pdf
File Function: First version, 2006
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit in its series Working Papers with number 06114.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Working Paper Series by the Development Policy Research Unit, November 2006, pages 1-36
Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:06114

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Related research

Keywords: South Africa: graduate unemployment; skills shortages;

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References

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  1. Kalie Pauw & Lawrence Edwards, 2005. "Evaluating the general equilibrium effects of a wage subsidy scheme for South Africa," Working Papers 21, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  2. H. Bhorat & J. Hodge, 1999. "Decomposing Shifts in Labour Demand in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 67(3), pages 155-168, 09.
  3. Rulof Burger & Ingrid Woolard, 2005. "The State of the Labour Market in South Africa after the First Decade of Democracy," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 133, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  4. Charlton Koen, 2003. "The Contribution of Technikons to Human Resources Development in South Africa," Working Papers 03080, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Servaas van der Berg & Hendrik van Broekhuizen, 2012. "Graduate unemployment in South Africa: A much exaggerated problem," Working Papers 22/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  2. Dorothée Boccanfuso & Alexandre Larouche & Mircea Trandafir, 2011. "Quality of higher education and the labor market in developing countries: Evidence from an education reform in Senegal," Cahiers de recherche 11-17, Departement d'Economique de la Faculte d'administration à l'Universite de Sherbrooke, revised May 2012.
  3. Derek Yu, 2013. "Youth unemployment in South Africa since 2000 revisited," Working Papers 04/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  4. Hayley McEwen & Anthony Leiman, 2008. "The Car Guards of Cape Town: A Public Good Analysis," SALDRU Working Papers 25, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  5. Frederick C.v.N. Fourie, 2011. "The South African unemployment debate: three worlds, three discourses?," SALDRU Working Papers 63, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  6. Derek Yu, 2012. "Youths in the South African labour market since the transition: A study of changes between 1995 and 2011," Working Papers 18/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  7. Derek Yu, 2008. "The South African labour market: 1995 – 2006," Working Papers 05/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  8. Burns, Justine & Edwards, Lawrence & Pauw, Karl, 2010. "Wage subsidies to combat unemployment and poverty," IFPRI discussion papers 969, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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