Buy food or find work? SA youth forced to make a difficult choice

| Afternoon Drive with John Maytham talks to Kristal Duncan-Williams, the project lead for youth advocacy campaign, Youth Capital.

The high cost of being poor is felt by most of South Africa's youth.

Eight out of 10 people in this country have to spread their constrained funds between finding a job and having a meal, this is according to a study by advocacy campaign, Youth Capital and Open Dialogue.

Afternoon Drive with John Maytham talks to Kristal Duncan-Williams, project lead for the campaign, on the high cost of looking for employment on the country's youth.

Duncan found that the estimated costs that young job seekers spend is around R500 a month on data and transport.

She adds that the need for data has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic with companies opting for virtual interviews.

A lot of young people, maybe because of COVID, have been invited to online interviews and that costs a lot of data.

Kristal Duncan-Williams, project lead for Youth Capital

While the average person might argue that being interviewed in the comfort of your own home is a privilege, for some impoverished people, taking a taxi to the venue and back would amount to much less, says Duncan.

You might think it’s easier to do an online interview but for someone who’s maybe battling poor network coverage, load shedding, a basic smartphone and then the cost of data, which seems negligible to you and I who are on contracts, these are really barriers for young job seekers.

Kristal Duncan-Williams, project lead for Youth Capital

The often unseen costs of looking for a job, such as making way to certify qualifications, sending emails, calling potential employers and logging into a computer (if you don't have access to one in your home) accumulate quite significantly for cash-strapped individuals, says Duncan.

Youth Capital suggests an integration into zero-data websites and WhatsApp communications as an alternative solution to the problem.

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Buy food or find work? SA youth forced to make a difficult choice

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