The national employment rate for youth aged 18-28 years old, as measured by the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), increased slightly in 2017Q3 to 53.2%. Youth employment remains well below the national employment rate of 72.3%. Based on Harambee’s data, we expect that youth employment will increase further in the current quarter due to seasonal demand, but that this increase will be temporary.
In contrast to the QLFS, Harambee uses real-time data to calculate an employment rate among our candidates. Harambee’s overall employment rate is lower than that of the QLFS (although the trends are similar) because we focus on marginalised youth in particular who tend to face higher structural barriers to employment. Encouragingly, the employment rate for Harambee youth has been increasing, which reinforces our belief that inclusive solutions to youth unemployment are possible even in a low-growth environment.
The average annual employment rate has been declining over the last 2 years and we expect that trend to continue through 2017. Given South Africa’s extremely low GDP growth, this is unsurprising – but it is not the core reason for low youth employment.
Structural barriers to youth employment, like high transport costs, are a massive problem and the reason for Harambee’s existence. In this Breaking Barriers we discuss the negative impact of high transport costs for young entry-level employees and work-seekers.
** Youth includes all 18-28 years old
*** Note: Harambee employment rate is much lower than the national employment rate as Harambee does not include the informal sector and specifically targets low-income urban youth excluded from the formal economy.