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Graduate Unemployment In The Face Of Skills Shortages: A Labour Market Paradox

  • K. Pauw
  • M. Oosthuizen
  • C. Van der westhuizen

Analysts agree that South Africa's unemployment is structural in the sense that the unemployed generally possess lower skills than what is required by the economy. In the context of increasing demand for skilled workers due to technological changes and the need to become globally more competitive, graduates would be expected to find employment without difficulty. However, against expectations unemployment has been increasing among young people with tertiary qualifications since 1995. This paper investigates the nature of this phenomenon. Evidence suggests that learners are inadequately prepared for both tertiary studies and entry into the labour market. Lack of, or inadequate career guidance means that they do not choose fields of study and types of qualifications with good employment prospects. In addition, lack of soft skills and workplace experience mean that employers are reluctant to employ graduates, preferring more experienced people instead. Copyright (c) 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) Economic Society of South Africa 2008.

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Article provided by Economic Society of South Africa in its journal South African Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 76 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 45-57

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Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:76:y:2008:i:1:p:45-57
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  1. 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.
  2. Kalie Pauw & Lawrence Edwards, 2006. "Evaluating The General Equilibrium Effects Of A Wage Subsidy Scheme For South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 74(3), pages 442-462, 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. 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.
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