The Post-Apartheid Labour Market: 1995-2004

DPRU Working Paper No. 06/103

68 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2007

Date Written: February 2006


This paper seeks to investigate some of the changes that have occurred within the South African labour market in the post-apartheid era between 1995 and 2004 and some of the challenges the labour market presents in the attainment of shared growth, updating previous work by Bhorat and Oosthuizen (2004). The two main sources of data are the October Household Survey of 1995 and the Labour Force Survey of September 2004. The paper has found that while the unemployment rate has risen over the period, total employment has increased, bringing into question the notion of jobless growth. Unemployment, however, continues to be concentrated in specific demographically and geographically defined groups, most notably rural dwellers, Africans, females, the poorly educated and the young and, for many, represents a long-term problem. Disturbingly, unemployment has continued to grow rapidly amongst relatively educated members of the labour force, despite the skills shortage faced by the country. An individual's probability of being employed is found to depend on his or her race, gender, age, location and level of education. However, it appears that gender plays less of a role in determining the probability of employment in 2004 than in 1995, although this is not true of race.

Keywords: South African labour market, unemployment rate, demographically and geographically defined groups

JEL Classification: A1

Suggested Citation

Oosthuizen, Morne, The Post-Apartheid Labour Market: 1995-2004 (February 2006). DPRU Working Paper No. 06/103. Available at SSRN: or

Morne Oosthuizen (Contact Author)

University of Cape Town ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

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