GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE FACE OF SKILLS SHORTAGES: A LABOUR MARKET PARADOX1
Morne Oosthuizen and
Carlene van der Westhuizen
South African Journal of Economics, 2008, vol. 76, issue 1, 45-57
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.
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