Why graduates can't find work

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Engineers, managers, teachers, legal staff and skilled trades are the hardest
positions to fill. Despite the high number of graduates each year, young
people are struggling to secure employment because they don't have the
skills required by employers.


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With many young people not being able to find employment, even after
obtaining a tertiary qualification, human capital solutions provider Manpower
South Africa notes the importance of youth keeping up to date with the latest
employment data.
The Manpower Talent Shortage Survey, released in May, pointed out that
Engineers are still proving to be the most difficult position for companies to fill.
"Following engineers, management and executive positions, teachers, legal staff
and skilled trades made up the top-five hardest positions to fill," explains Lyndy
Van Den Barselaar, Managing Director for Manpower South Africa.
Following the top five were accounting and financial staff, restaurants and
hotel staff, technicians, customer service representatives and customer support,
and IT staff.

"It seems almost unreal that in a country with unemployment hovering around
the 25% mark that we should still suffer job shortages, however, lack of
technical competencies remains a big problem for employees. This is particularly
evident this year in the upper formal sectors in areas such as management,
teachers and legal staff. Although sufficient training and expertise is one factor
in the shortages, brain drain or insufficient job attractiveness is driving these
professions to other job sectors or employment outside of South Africa causing a
vacuum," explains Barselaar.
The survey also revealed some of the reasons employers where finding it
difficult to fill positions. 58% of employers said that they could not fill positions
due to a lack of hard skills or technical competencies, with 45% attributing it to a
lack of available applicants or no applicants due to factors such as skills
shortages.
"It is becoming increasingly important for those pupils in matric to take not
of these factors, in order to assist them in making the best career choice for
themselves and the economy. This will ensure they are able to find
employment,' explains van den Barselaar.
Furthermore, around 30% of employers also mentioned the fact that many
employees didn't have industry-specific qualifications or certifications in a
professional field (33%) or that they had a lack of experience (29%). A further
20% cited the reasons as lack of industry-specific qualifications or certifications
in skilled trades.

Other factors also included a lack of soft skills (language, customer
interaction, etc.) or motivation as well as wanting more pay than was offered. An
undesirable geographic location as well as a lack of applicants willing to work on
a "part-time? or "contingent? basis was also a problem for some.

"Education is an important factor in finding employment, which is why it is
important for pupils leaving matric to take these kinds of factors into
consideration, and choose the right qualification for their future,' she says.

"The problem is also that there is a global skills shortage problem. This
means that those with the skills are often attracted away from South Africa to
other countries with more lucrative job prospects where the skills are also in
demand.
However, the private sector is also finding its own solutions to the problem."

Van den Barselaar explains that businesses are taking different approaches,
with 40% of the companies surveyed saying that they are partnering with
educational institutions to create curriculum aligned to their talent needs and
15% said they are utilising non-traditional - or previously untried - recruiting
practices, both internally and externally, in response to the growing challenge of
workforce strategy. 9% of respondents said that they are increasing starting
salaries or considering new offices or building out existing facilities in areas
where the talent is.

"It is critically important for the youth to look into which sectors are employing,'
she explains.
The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS), released this month,
found that employers in seven South African sectors expect to grow payrolls
during the October-December time frame.
The most optimistic hiring intentions were reported in the Agriculture,
Hunting, Forestry and Fishing sector and the Mining and Quarrying sector, where
Net Employment Outlook stands at +12%.

"Elsewhere, employers report cautiously optimistic hiring plans with outlooks of
+9% in the electricity, gas and water supply sector and the finance, insurance,
real estate and business services sector,' explains van den Barselaar.

However, construction sector employers forecast negative hiring activity,
with an outlook of -3%.
"Students planning to enter the job market need to keep up to date with
the latest data concerning employment and sector performance. This will be to
their advantage, as well as helping the economy to grow and unemployment to
be reduced,' concludes van den Barselaar.

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