SA's employment scenario looks bleak
Desperate labour situation the focus of UASA’s 2011 Employment Report
South Africa’s current economic growth phase could not prevent 300 000 job losses in the first quarter of 2011, the highest number since the start of quarterly employment reporting. This number represents the 227 000 more unemployed South Africans as announced by Statistics SA earlier this week plus the 73 000 discouraged workers who gave up looking for jobs, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) released this week.
UASA is shocked by the South Africa’s employment scenario, which remains desperate. We fail to see any plans that will turn around the current situation. We should be reminded that “unless we change, we will end up where we are heading to”.
The annual widely publicised UASA Employment Report, compiled by well-known economist Mike Schussler, is due on 9 June and will attempt to interrogate the current employment issues and focus on what needs to be done to address South Africa’s unemployment problem.
This includes the following issues:
- We find ourselves in a phase of economic growth, but we see no growth in employment opportunities. No new jobs are created, vacancies are not filled and increasing mechanisation and technology replace people in the workplace. In other words, labour is fast losing its attractiveness in the market.
- Add to this the fact that the salary account is now higher than before the recession. This is due to fewer employed workers earning more money, partly because employers expect workers to do more in order to earn more, but also because of union demands during salary negotiations.
- Even skills seem to be less important to the labour market, as is evident in the construction sector which is not producing jobs because of low investor and company confidence.
- Further factors are weak leadership and the absence of practical plans to turn the situation around, ill-considered statements by politicians about, for instance, nationalisation, the threat of rising inflation and interest rates, and the elections on 18 May.