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:
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
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.