IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Educational Attainment and Labour Market Outcomes in South Africa, 1994-2010


  • Nicola Branson

    (University of Cape Town)

  • Murray Leibbrandt

    (University of Cape Town)


In this paper we document the impact of education levels on labour market outcomes from 1994 to 2010 using national household survey data. We show that higher levels of education are strongly rewarded in the labour market in terms of earnings and that a tertiary qualification improves an individual’s prospects of employment. While the premium for matric and incomplete secondary has fallen marginally over the period, the premium to tertiary has risen, especially for women. Differences in the reward to education level are evident for Africans versus the overall population, between urban and rural areas and for younger versus older workers. In particular, the premium to tertiary education has increased at a higher rate for Africans than for the overall population. L'éducation et son rendement sur le marché du travail en Afrique du Sud, 1994-2010 Dans cette étude nous examinons les rendements de l’éducation sur le marché du travail entre 1994 et 2010 à l’aide d’enquêtes-ménages nationales. Nous montrons que le rendement de l’éducation supérieure en termes de salaire est très élevé et qu’un diplôme du supérieur augmente également la probabilité d’être employé. Alors qu’un niveau d’éducation secondaire a eu des rendements en légère baisse au cours de la période, le rendement de l’éducation tertiaire a augmenté, surtout pour les femmes. A niveau éducatif donné, des différences de rendement sont observées entre les Africains et la population totale, les zones rurales et urbaines et entre les jeunes et les séniors. En particulier, les rendements de l’éducation tertiaire a augmenté plus rapidement pour les Africains que pour la population totale.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Branson & Murray Leibbrandt, 2013. "Educational Attainment and Labour Market Outcomes in South Africa, 1994-2010," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1022, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1022-en
    DOI: 10.1787/5k4c0vvbvv0q-en

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Arden Finn & Murray Leibbrandt & Morné Oosthuizen, 2014. "Poverty, Inequality, and Prices in Post-Apartheid South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2014-127, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Jacqueline Mosomi, 2019. "Distributional changes in the gender wage gap in the post-apartheid South African labour market," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-17, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Channing Arndt, 2017. "New data, new approaches and new evidence: A policy synthesis," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2017-202, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Steven F. Koch & Evelyn Tshela, 2020. "The Impact of Diabetes on Labour Market Outcomes," Working Papers 2020109, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    5. Finn, Arden & Leibbrandt, Murray & Oosthuizen, Morne, 2014. "Poverty, inequality, and prices in post-apartheid South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 127, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Channing Arndt, 2018. "New Data, New Approaches and New Evidence: A Policy Synthesis," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 86(S1), pages 167-178, January.
    7. Alison Cathles & Dongshu Ou & Simone Sasso & Mary Setrana & Tom van Veen, 2018. "Where Do You Come from, where Do You Go? Assessing Skills Gaps and Labour Market Outcomes of Young Adults with Different Immigration Backgrounds," CESifo Working Paper Series 7157, CESifo.
    8. Josue Mbonigaba & Akinola Gbenga Wilfred, 2019. "Productivity effects of human capital: an empirical investigation of health and higher education in South Africa," Zbornik radova Ekonomskog fakulteta u Rijeci/Proceedings of Rijeka Faculty of Economics, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Economics and Business, vol. 37(1), pages 277-301.
    9. De Wet, Nicole, 2019. "The association between mother's socioeconomic status and non-orphan kinship care arrangements in South Africa," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 79-86.

    More about this item


    Afrique du Sud; earnings; education; emploi; employment; enquête ménage nationale; national household survey data; salaires; South Africa; éducation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1022-en. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.