Graduate Unemployment in the Face of Skills Shortages: A Labour Market Paradox

DPRU Working Paper No. 06/114

36 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2007

See all articles by Kalie Pauw

Kalie Pauw

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Development Policy Research Unit

Morne Oosthuizen

University of Cape Town

Carlene van der Westhuizen

University of Cape Town

Date Written: November 2006

Abstract

There is consensus among analysts that South Africa's unemployment is structural in the sense that the unemployed generally possess lower skills than what is required in the marketplace. In the context of increasing demand for skilled workers due to technical progress and the need to become more competitive globally, graduate unemployment would be expected to fall. This paper investigates the nature of graduate unemployment in South Africa since 1995, finding that labour force and employment growth has been concentrated in higher educational categories. However, against expectations unemployment has risen amongst young and better educated people. The paper suggests that the education sector urgently requires continued emphasis and monitoring to ensure that learners are adequately prepared for entry into the labour force; that greater efforts be made to encourage learners to choose directions of study with superior employment prospects; and that investment in young people's soft skills is required.

Keywords: graduate unemployment, soft skills

Suggested Citation

Pauw, Kalie and Oosthuizen, Morne and van der Westhuizen, Carlene, Graduate Unemployment in the Face of Skills Shortages: A Labour Market Paradox (November 2006). DPRU Working Paper No. 06/114, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=964899 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.964899

Kalie Pauw (Contact Author)

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Development Policy Research Unit ( email )

Private Bag
Rondesbosch, 7700
South Africa

Morne Oosthuizen

University of Cape Town ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

Carlene Van der Westhuizen

University of Cape Town ( email )

Private Bag
Rondesbosch, 7700
South Africa

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