Finding Work: Employment Experiences of South African Graduates

by MOLEKE, P., 2005
Employment & Economic Policy Research Programme Monograph, Cape Town: HSRC Press

People with higher education enjoy a clear advantage in the labour market. However, this advantage is not experienced by all graduates – differences occur by race and gender. If graduates are regularly surveyed, a picture can be obtained of their entry into and progression through the labour market. A graduate tracking system can provide prospective and current students, employers and government with in-depth information on the graduate labour market. Moleke presents the findings of a follow-up postal survey of 2 672 university graduates in South Africa, which aimed to gather qualitative and quantitative data on their experiences in the labour market. She reviews their employment experiences from 1990 to 1998. This study starts with recent findings on the employment of graduates and includes the time it takes them to find employment, the factors that influence employability, the types of jobs they find, their perceptions of the link between the level of jobs they found and their qualifications, and the sectors of employment. It then looks at graduate unemployment, including the period of and reasons for unemployment. The rest of the report reflects on graduate mobility in the labour market, reasons why graduates move abroad, reasons for pursuing post-graduate studies, and graduates’ perceptions of the skills they acquired through higher education.