The State of the Labour Market in Contemporary South Africa

by MOLEKE, P., 2004
The State of the Nation. 2003-2004 eds J.Daniel, A.Habib, R.Southall. Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council pp204-224

The state of the labour market in South Africa is a reflection of the crippling legacies of apartheid and as such is a major challenge confronting the government. There are pockets of progress, but progress is limited relative to the magnitude of the inherited inequities:· Whites still dominate high-level occupations; Africans and women are concentrated in secondary sectors.· There has been little change in the racial and gender composition within occupations.· On-the-job training, promotions and recruitment are still skewed towards whites and are concentrated at higher levels.·  The beneficiaries of training are mostly whites, who form the majority of staff at higher levels. · Education and training is still supply-led. There is little, if any, labour market information on the demand for skills. · The lack of basic education is a major challenge. Numeracy and literacy affect access to good jobs and, hence, training. These problems need to be tackled both within and outside the labour market. High unemployment rates and the marginalisation of Africans and women need to be addressed through active labour market policies, including basic literacy and numeracy training, job-search assistance, vocational guidance and counselling. Active labour market policies would improve the employability of the unemployed, increase the efficiency of job searching, secure job outcomes, and improve equity. These services cannot be provided by private enterprise, and are therefore the responsibility of government.