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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kalie Pauw & Morné Oosthuizen & Carlene van der Westhuizen, 2006. "Graduate Unemployment in the Face of Skills Shortages: A Labour Market Paradox," Working Papers 06114, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:06114
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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, September.
    2. Murray Leibbrandt & Haroon Bhorat, 1999. "Modelling Vulnerability and Low Earnings in the South African Labour Market," Working Papers 99032, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    3. 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.
    4. Morné Oosthuizen, 2006. "The Post-Apartheid Labour Market: 1995-2004," Working Papers 06103, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    5. 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, September.
    6. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Derek Yu, 2008. "The South African labour market: 1995 – 2006," Working Papers 05/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    2. 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.
    3. Boccanfuso, Dorothée & Larouche, Alexandre & Trandafir, Mircea, 2015. "Quality of Higher Education and the Labor Market in Developing Countries: Evidence from an Education Reform in Senegal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 412-424.
    4. repec:aio:aucsse:v:1:y:2017:i:45:p:82-94 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Alexandre Larouche & Dorothée Boccanfuso & Mircea Trandafir, 2011. "The impact of the PDEF on the labour market outcomes of «high-skilled» workers in Senegal," EcoMod2011 3572, EcoMod.
    6. Vuyo Pikoko & Andrew Phiri, 2018. "Is there hysteresis in South African unemployment? Evidence form the post-recessionary period," Working Papers 1803, Department of Economics, Nelson Mandela University, revised Jan 2018.
    7. Hendrik van Broekhuizen, 2016. "Graduate unemployment and Higher Education Institutions in South Africa," Working Papers 08/2016, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    8. 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.
    9. Derek Yu, 2013. "Youth unemployment in South Africa since 2000 revisited," Working Papers 04/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    10. Burns, Justine & Edwards, Lawrence & Pauw, Karl, 2010. "Wage subsidies to combat unemployment and poverty," IFPRI discussion papers 969, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. 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.
    12. Sumberg, James & Anyidoho, Nana Akua & Chasukwa, Michael & Chinsinga, Blessings & Leavy, Jennifer, 2014. "Young people, agriculture, and employment in rural Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 080, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. 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.
    14. Lucilla Maria Bruni & Jamele Rigolini & Sara Troiano, 2016. "Forever Young?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 24996, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    South Africa: graduate unemployment; skills shortages;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics

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