- South Africa’s matrics are struggling to find jobs, as the unemployed population of matriculants increases for the last three years in a row.
- Only 278 814 out of nearly 1 million students in the Class of 2022 managed to get Bachelor Passes.
- Of South Africa’s small population of graduates, only 2.8 percent are without jobs.
The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey results have been released by Statistics SA, and this survey covers the unemployment and employment rates of South Africans for the first quarter of the year ending May 2023.
There were several key takeaways from the report, including that the country’s labour force grew by 437 000 people, up 1.8 percent points from Q4 2022. This as more people found jobs in the first few months of the year (258 000), but also more people lost their jobs (179 000).
In total 7.9 million South Africans are without jobs as we head into June, marking one of the largest unemployed populations in the world.
The report also details the education levels of those who are without jobs, and for the third year in a row, individuals without matric certificates continue to make up the majority of the unemployed for the quarter.
The portion with qualifications “less than matric” make up 48.3 percent of the unemployed, or 38.2 million people.
This is followed by matrics, which sit at 40.7 percent, or 32.2 million individuals. This roughly means that a matric certificate will only grant you a 7.6 percent increase in the chance of getting a job over a person that does not have a matric.
2022’s National Senior Certificate exams saw a pass rate of 80.1 percent across the country, which is about 738 549 learners. However, of concern is the number of matric passes that were considered “Bachelor passes”, with only 278 814 learners around the country eligible to study at university.
Additionally, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) says that it is funding the university and TVET college careers of over 900 000 students in 2023. South Africans with university-level qualifications are in the vast minority, with a 2021 study showing that only 6 percent of the total population are graduates.
According to Stats SA, only 2.7 percent of those unemployed are university graduates, with a further 7.5 percent having some sort of tertiary education.
What is notable, is that for the last three years, people will matrics are finding it harder to get jobs. In Q1 2001, the percentage of unemployed people with matrics sat at 37.7 percent, which climbed to 40.0 percent in Q1 2022, and now sits at 40.7 percent.
Unemployed graduates also increased slightly from 2021, from 2.1 percent to 2.8 percent in 2023.
The percentage of people not in employment, education or training (NEET) decreased slightly for the quarter. Only 36.1 percent of the 10.2 million unemployed youth between the ages of 15 and 24 were NEET, a decrease of 0.8 percentage points from the NEET rate in Q1 2022.
With South Africa’s basic education woes seemingly growing worse, the future looks bleak for the employment rate, as employers are still hesitant to accept applicants, even with matric certificates.