As measured by the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), the national employment rate for youth aged 18-28 years old remained constant at 53.2% for 2017Q4. This rate contrasted sharply with the overall employment rate, which improved by a full percentage point to 73.3%. Based on Harambee’s data, we expected to see a seasonal increase in the QLFS employment rate, driven by temporary hiring in retail. However, the overall increase in employment for 2017Q4 was driven by other sectors, including community and social services, manufacturing and agriculture. It is likely that older, more skilled or more experienced employees are favoured by these sectors, which is why the overall employment rate increased but youth employment at the national level did not.
Harambee uses real-time data to calculate an employment rate among the young people it serves. Harambee’s overall employment rate is lower than that of the QLFS (although the trends are similar) because we focus on marginalised youth in particular, who tend to face higher structural barriers to employment.
The employment rate among Harambee candidates increased slightly in the fourth quarter, but not nearly as much as the rate increased in 2016Q4 or in 2015Q4. In other words, the Harambee employment rate remained in line with the QLFS employment rate, on a declining annual average trend. We expect the employment rate to decline slightly again in 2018Q1.
Harambee believes that inclusive solutions to increase youth employment are possible, and we will continue to share our knowledge to develop these solutions further.
401 435 learners passed South Africa’s 2017 secondary school exit exam (Matric). Congratulations to all of you from Harambee, this is a great achievement! However many of 2017’s graduates will face difficult employment prospects ahead. This Breaking Barriers outlines some of the challenges facing youth who are transitioning from school to work, or from “learning to earning”.
** Youth includes all 18-28 years old
*** Note: Harambee employment rate is much lower than the national employment rate as Harambee does not include the informal sector and specifically targets low-income urban youth excluded from the formal economy.