According to PwC’s ninth South Africa Economic Outlook report for 2022, there are currently 833,000 unskilled and semi-skilled jobs in South Africa compared to the pre-pandemic period (Q4 2019).
These workers were more likely to lose their jobs during the lockout and less likely to regain it later than skilled workers. In other words, more skilled adults were more likely to have and keep jobs during Covid-19, the report said.
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The auditing firm warned that South Africa cannot count on future economic growth to solve the country’s unskilled and semi-skilled unemployment problem.
“Although our estimates show that employment could grow by 200,000 per year by 2030, we expect the workforce to grow by nearly 350,000 adults per year over the same period. As a result, the country’s unemployment rate will continue to rise and could reach 40% by 2030 in our bearish economic scenario, “said Lullu Krugel, chief economist at PwC South Africa.
Decline in the social cohesion of SA
“The exclusion of millions of unemployed adults from participating in the country’s economic life is contributing to a decline in South Africa’s social cohesion. This, in turn, is causing an increase in the collapse of society and the stability risks associated with protests and unrest. As seen in many countries of the world today, when the general population is not thriving, societies are in dire straits. Real and perceived prosperity are absolute requirements for countries or regions to function effectively, “said Krugel.
The country’s education system is currently not producing in-demand workers with the right skills for the job. Eight out of ten unemployed adults have a secondary school or full baccalaureate, while there are also 742,000 unemployed with tertiary education.
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To improve employability, PwC recognizes that South Africa needs a vision of national competencies that includes roles, responsibilities and expectations for each social stakeholder. This includes the private sector which must focus on improving the skills of its employees to remain competitive.
Framework for a social pact in South Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his 2022 State of the Nation (SONA) address that stakeholders were working on a global social compact to grow our economy and create jobs. PwC welcomed the effort and commented at the time that this pact must include a vision of national competencies that includes roles, responsibilities and expectations for each stakeholder.
The president noted on August 31, 2022 that the “Framework for a Social Compact in South Africa” will seek to “provide skills and opportunities to the millions of South Africans who have been relegated to the margins of the economy”.
Christie Viljoen, Senior Economist at PwC South Africa, said: “Private sector organizations should undertake solid workforce planning to understand the impact technology and automation have on jobs in their sector and what this means for the skills their workers will need in the future. “
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“Skills enhancement will be key to ensuring that local industries have people who have the know-how to help drive economic growth and development.
“Our international research shows that, at the company level, offering training and development opportunities has a measurable positive impact on the company’s financial data. In particular, these opportunities translate into fewer resignations and higher profitability, ”concluded Viljoen.
Compiled by Devina Haripersad