Main reasons for unemployment in South African Youth 2020: South Africa has seen an unemployment problem for a long time (before and after democracy). So, South Africa has seen this problem way before there were talks about: 4th Industrial Revolution, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Digital Age, etc. Nevertheless, introduction of 4IR as today’s reality is not making things easier in terms of keeping the jobs of South Africans. The 4th Industrial Revolution is creating a demand for new jobs while eliminating some of the jobs highlighted below. In the short term, mankind will face a great challenge and the jobless will soar. As the research of Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee from the MIT Sloan School of Management, starting around 2011, technology has fuelled productivity but not fuelled job growth—quite the opposite, actually. McAfee and Brynjolfsson indicate that part of the reason is that our skills aren’t keeping up with technological advances.

Top 30 jobs mostly going to disappear in South Africa (and the world)

Out of around 700 occupations, here are the top 30 most risky occupations having a 98-99 per cent chance of being automated in the future:

1  Telemarketers

2  Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers

3  Sewers, Hand

4  Mathematical Technicians

5  Insurance Underwriters

6  Watch Repairers

7  Cargo and Freight Agents

8  Tax Preparers

9  Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators

10  New Accounts Clerks

11  Library Technicians

12  Data Entry Keyers

13  Timing Device Assemblers and Adjusters

14  Insurance Claims and Policy Processing Clerks

15  Brokerage Clerks

16  Order Clerks

17  Loan Officers

18  Insurance Appraisers, Auto Damage

19  Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials

20  Tellers

21  Etchers and Engravers

22  Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders

23  Procurement Clerks

24  Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks

25  Milling and Planing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

26 Credit Analysts

27 Parts Salespersons

29 Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators Driver/Sales Workers

30 Radio Operators

There are various previous arguments about the causes of unemployment in South Africa which still apply in the South African context, some of which according to the gcis.gov are:

Legacy of apartheid and poor education and training

Some research shows that the deliberate exclusion of black people from the educational system and from skilled occupations under apartheid contributed to high rates of unemployment today.

Labour demand – supply mismatch

Labour supply is affected by the increase in the number of job seekers over the years. The rate of entry of women – especially African women – into the labour market has risen sharply. Furthermore, the South African population is a young population – more people enter the working age as compared to the number of jobs that become available in the labour market.

During the recession, many workers lost their jobs, the largest number in manufacturing. This meant that companies could no longer afford to employ more people and had to reduce the workforce, therefore contributing to the unemployment rate in the country.

Role of trade union federations in government:

Higher wage demands may lead to decline in new employment. Some argue that labour demands make South Africa’s labour regime inflexible while others point to it as important to improve the quality of life through a living wage.

General lack of interest for entrepreneurship

Irrespective of various government initiatives to enhance entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial activity  in South Africa is low. For example, the number of young people involved in entrepreneurial activity remains extremely low at 6 per cent of the total youth (18-34 years) population (DoC Tracker, 2014). This low level of interest is borne out by DoC research results as illustrated in Figure 1.

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