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Determinants Of Job Search Strategies: Evidence From The Khayelitsha/Mitchell'S Plain Survey

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  • Volker Schöer
  • Murray Leibbrandt

Abstract

The search behaviour of the unemployed is an under-explored but important aspect of the unemployment puzzle in South Africa. The conventional conceptualisation of search rests on a simple dichotomy between active searching versus non-searching. This is a particularly blunt lens for investigating and understanding searchers who use social networks as the basis for their search strategy as such search does not qualify as active searching. Using data from metropolitan Cape Town this paper shows that such a search strategy is an important component of overall job-seeking behaviour for large percentages of searchers. A simple search model is presented to clarify the benefits and costs associated with different strategies and descriptive and multivariate analyses of the data are undertaken in order to highlight key factors influencing the choice of strategies. Findings illustrate the usefulness of the simple model by showing that the chosen search strategy is a compromise between the most effective way of finding a job and what is actually feasible for an individual. Being a female lowers the probability of active search compared to network search. A number of household characteristics are also important. Domestic duties hinder more active search while local embeddeness is key to the effectiveness of and the use of social network search. Copyright (c) 2006 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2006 Economic Society of South Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Volker Schöer & Murray Leibbrandt, 2006. "Determinants Of Job Search Strategies: Evidence From The Khayelitsha/Mitchell'S Plain Survey," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 74(4), pages 702-724, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:74:y:2006:i:4:p:702-724
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    Cited by:

    1. Chau, Nancy H., 2016. "On sweatshop jobs and decent work," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 120-134.
    2. Burns, Justine & Godlonton, Susan & Keswell, Malcolm, 2010. "Social networks, employment and worker discouragement: Evidence from South Africa," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 336-344, April.
    3. Miracle Ntuli & Prudence Kwenda, 2013. "Labour Unions and Wage Inequality Among African Men in South Africa," Working Papers 13159, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    4. Levinsohn, James & Pugatch, Todd, 2014. "Prospective analysis of a wage subsidy for Cape Town youth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 169-183.
    5. Martin Abel & Rulof Burger & Patrizio Piraino, 2017. "The value of reference letters," Working Papers 06/2017, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

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