n South African Journal of Labour Relations - A review of youth unemployment in South Africa, 2004 to 2011




The unemployment rate among the age group 15 to 34 in South Africa has been growing over the past three years. This is reminiscent of global trends in youth unemployment. Youth unemployment has become a topical issue in many countries in the world as the figures soar. This trend may be ascribed to the impact of the world recession on output growth and employment, to structural changes in production as well as to the diminishing marginal utility of labour as a result of cost pressures. In 2003, males and females aged between 15 and 24 years accounted for about 41% of the world's unemployed, or an estimated 74 million people (World Bank 2003).

The youth unemployment challenges in South Africa are closely related to the inability of young people to obtain employment owing to their lack of experience, which is all too often compounded by a lack of skills. The result is a growing cohort of young people with severely limited access to formal sector employment, and limited means to do anything about this. This article investigates the various factors that may play a role in the high unemployment rate among young people in South Africa, such as skills levels, age, population group and economic environment.
Interventions to address youth unemployment depend on combining the efforts of all stakeholders and should focus on education and training, job readiness and experience as well as the creation of jobs in all geographical areas of South Africa


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