Gauteng Business News

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Business: Solidarity: Less Skilled Workers Most Vulnerable to Job Loss


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The report, compiled by Solidarity’s Research Institute, puts the latest unemployment figures under the spotlight. In terms of the latest figures from Statistics South Africa for the first quarter of 2009, almost 4,2 million South Africans are now unemployed, according to the narrow definition. This brings the official unemployment figure in South Africa to 23,5%. This is according to the Centre for Development and Enterprise’s list of the poorest unemployment figures in the world.

According to Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans, the report pays particular attention to the latest trends in the number of job losses and the number of people leaving their jobs in South Africa. “Of the current nearly 4,2 million unemployed people in South Africa, almost 32%, or 1,4 million, lost their jobs while a further almost 360 000, or 8,5%, left their jobs and are still not employed,” Kleynhans explained.

According to the report, which is based, among other things, on the latest unemployment figures from Statistics South Africa, more than 65% of those who lost their jobs have a qualification below matric while a further 26% only have matric. By contrast, 5% of those who lost their jobs have a tertiary qualification.

More than 58% of the job losses recorded in the survey by Statistics South Africa were among men. In addition, nearly 69% of job losses were among those aged 15 to 34.

The study also shows that more than 21% (nearly 291 000) of those who lost their jobs had previously been employed in the trade sector, while nearly 282 000 of those who lost their jobs had previously been employed in the construction sector.

Unemployment in terms of race is also included and analysed in the report. Of the current 4,2 million unemployed people in South Africa, more than 1,1 million are black people who have lost their jobs in the past five years. In the same category of people who have lost their jobs in the past five years, 182 000 are coloured people, 26 000 are Indian and 38 000 are white.

The study also found that the number of white people losing their jobs is increasing sharply. The number of job losses in this community alone has increased by 26,6% from the first quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009.

If one considers the composition of unemployment, which consists of five different categories, it shows that 38,3% of all the unemployed whites have lost their jobs. By comparison, nearly 47,5% of all unemployed coloured people have lost their jobs, 30,7% of unemployed black people and 37,7% of unemployed Indians (see p.12 of the report).

The report also found that more than 41% of those who leave their jobs do so because of high levels of job satisfaction. This, according to Solidarity, is shocking and disappointing. “Job satisfaction is an element that can be tackled by employers and can be used to lower staff turnover,” Kleynhans explained.

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