Ramaphosa Wants Removal Of Work Experience For Entry-Level Jobs


South Africa's youth are continuously dealing with the impact of unemployment and how difficult it is to successfully find a job. In order to alleviate some of the struggle, President Cyril Ramaphosa is requesting a change to job application requirements. 



President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated government's calls to remove the requirement of work experience when young people apply for entry-level jobs. 

The President has called on State-Owned Entities (SOE's), companies and departments to follow government's request, especially as youth unemployment remains one of the most pressing challenges faced in the country.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the third quarter of 2022, young people aged between 15-24 years and 25-34 years recorded the highest unemployment rates of 59.6% and 40.5% respectively.

South Africa's youth are struggling to find employment, with many of them facing rejection due to the fact that they haven't worked before. The question remains: how does the youth expect to secure jobs when they haven't been successful before? 

Although there is urgency from the Presidency to let go of the "previous work experience required" condition of applications for entry-level jobs, Tebogo Khaas, founder of the Institute of the Chartered Entrepreneurs (ICE), says it is unlikely that companies will actually heed the President's calls. 

"There is no way that companies would take the risk of employing people who are not qualified for the job that they seek, especially if it's sensitive areas or areas that require knowledge or experience of some sort. Those who are going to be absorbed [in the workforce] will likely be at very low levels and most learnerships, unfortunately, would be directed at people who come from either tertiary education, or FET qualifications," explains Khaas.

He adds that the expectation has always been that young people who are qualified and have degrees will be employed in mid-level or entry-level management types of work. 

"In fact, there is a disconnect in how the [education] system works and how it actually links to industries, because we've got vast output in terms of graduates from universities who are not work ready; in other words, we've got young people who go and study for particular courses and become qualified, but they haven't got work experience," elaborated Khaasa.

Placing (usually) final year students in a workplace environment so that they may learn and gain work experience in their chosen field of study has proven to be beneficial on a job-seeking graduate's CV; but not all students find themselves that lucky.

Without that exposure, says Khaas, the youth will not likely become employed.

Businesses are encouraged to hire unemployed youth and provide assistance to them, but a small business that is just starting out cannot compete with a business that has been established and successfully operating for a much longer period of time.

Not only are small businesses without the funds to properly assist the jobless youth, but they are also dealing with the severe impacts of back-to-back loadshedding as well as finding ways to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Small businesses will not have the additional funds to take on unemployed youth in terms of paying an entry-level salary; in that case, Khaas says there should be a strategy created, either through a tax break or a subsidy specifically aimed at small businesses, that will make it possible and affordable to hire some of the youth, as well as to ensure that their labour costs will not become as high as it would in a larger, established business. 

Government has already implemented various initiatives to combat the strenuous impact of youth unemployment, such as the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI), and has recently revealed that additional plans are underway to increase job creation for South Africa’s jobless youth.

In an effort to address the challenge of youth unemployment, government has decided to expand the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) to encourage businesses to hire more young people in large numbers. 

Delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Cape Town City Hall last week Thursday, President Ramaphosa announced that following last year’s commitment of placing over 10 000 TVET college graduates in employment, government has surpassed that figure and has set a new target of placing 20 000 TVET college graduates within employment in 2023. 

“The number of students entering artisan training in TVET colleges will be increased from 17 000 to 30 000 in the 2023 academic year,” President Ramaphosa said during his address.

Other measures government mentioned to mitigate youth unemployment include the Presidential Employment Stimulus and the revitalised National Youth Service which will create a further 36 000 opportunities through non-profit and community-based organisations.

The President noted that these programmes have already provided work and livelihood opportunities to more than 1 million people.


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Presidnent Ramphosa at SONA

Youth unemployment remains one of the most pressing challenges faced in the country. Government has revealed that additional plans are already underway to increase job creation for South Africa’s jobless young people.




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