Employment Experiences of Graduates

by MOLEKE, P., 2003
Research report, Employment and Economic Policy Research, Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria.

Moleke assesses the inequities in higher education and their consequences in the labour market for people with higher education. The inequalities in the type and source of human capital acquired are often overlooked, and it is argued here that they perpetuate inequalities observed in the labour market. Inequities in acquired human capital eventually influence educational attainment, which in turn influences labour market prospects. This is reflected in the selection or sifting of the potential employees in the labour market. Those with longer years of schooling have better prospects in the labour market. But also of significance is the type of qualification acquired during schooling. Qualification differences translate into different types of skills acquired – a major indicator of employability. These differences are increasingly accounting for the continuing racial disparities in the labour market, particularly in the context of the growing demand for skilled labour. Whereas demand-side factors such as discrimination in terms of physical appearance, i.e. race and or gender, still influence employment in South Africa, there is evidence that their impact is declining. The paper is part of the research on the employment experiences of university graduates in South Africa. The research is based on a sample of 2 672 university graduates in South Africa who obtained their qualifications between 1990 and 1998 across all fields of study.