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Unemployment rate: Graduates caught in vicious cycle

Statistics South Africa says the number of employed people decreased by 237,000 to 16.3 million in the first quarter of this year.

FILE: A graduate seeks employment by putting himself out there standing on a street corner. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – According to Statistics South Africa, the country’s unemployment rate has risen to its highest level since the third quarter of 2017.

It was sitting at 27.6% at the end of the first three months of this year.

The 31-year-old Nhlakanipho Ngcobo holds an honours degree in marketing.

He’s been looking for a job since 2017 without luck.

Ngcobo said that not having a car has lessened his chances of securing work because businesses are only interested in sales representatives who have their own transport.

He also hasn’t gained any experience for the kind of job he wants to pursue.

To compound his problems Ngcobo said that he hasn’t received his certificate because he still owes university fees.

Ngcobo’s story mirrors that of millions of other South Africans, many of them young people who find themselves in a desperate situation.

Student Frederick Beckley has also shared his concerns. He is studying towards a master’s degree in urban planning.

When asked about his thoughts on the country’s high unemployment rate, he said that gaining sufficient work experience was a challenge.

Beckley believes that the insourcing of workers in his industry and nepotism in some companies greatly reduces the chances of employment.

He also bemoaned the lack of initiatives by businesses and government to create job opportunities for graduates. Beckley said he was not surprised by the increase in the unemployment rate.

Statistics South Africa said that the number of employed people decreased by 237,000 to 16.3 million in the first quarter of this year.

The number of those unemployed increased by 62,000 to 6.2 million in the last three months of 2018.

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