Post-matric job chances: what the latest labour stats tell us

  • According to Stats SA’s latest labour report, unemployment has increased again into 2024, now at a rate of 32.9 percent.
  • The stats show that people without matric are still finding it difficult to find jobs, and people with matric are finding it a bit easier.
  • Meanwhile, university graduates are finding it harder than last year to find work.

The latest quarterly labour statistics are out today from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), covering the first three months of 2024, and despite several government initiatives promising jobs to thousands of unemployed young people, the unemployment rate continues to increase, this time by 0.8 percent.

While the number of employed persons increased in the first three months of the year, the number of jobless people also increase, erasing any gains made in the quarter. The number of people with jobs increased by 22 000, while the people without increased by 330 000 in the quarter, showing the serious situation we have in South Africa in terms of employment.

With one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, the South African jobless rate now stands at 32.9 percent of the population.

The latest stats also paint a picture of what chances people have in South Africa to get a job depending on their education level, and it is quite telling.

According to the report, in the first three months of 2024 the rate of unemployment among people without a matric increased to 39.1 percent of all unemployed, while only 34.5 percent of those who have matrics don’t have a job.

Meanwhile, people with degrees had a worse chance to get a job in the first three months of the year compared to the same time a year prior, with a rate of 11.8 percent (up by 2.3 percent points.)

“Year-on-year comparisons indicated that the unemployment rate increased among graduates and those with education levels below matric while the rate decreased for other tertiary and matric,” Stats SA explains.

This means that university graduates are finding it harder to get a job than at the same time in 2023, while matrics are finding it easier than people without a matric.

People without matric are finding it harder to find jobs, while people with matric are finding it easier. The same can be said for graduates compared to people with “Other Tertiary” qualifications.

Meanwhile, people with “other tertiary” education, such as those who achieved certificates from technical and vocational educational and training (TVET) colleges are managing to find jobs more easily.

However, we’d like to point out that the difference in finding a job between people with matric certificates and people without is only 4.6 percent. Obviously, the report does not indicate which are getting jobs with more benefits, higher pay, etc. but the difference is slight which is important as we are often told how much more of an advantage a matric certificate can give.

The same can be said about university degrees, which should be of more concern for the likes of the Department of Basic Education (DBE). Earlier this year, DBE celebrated the “highest bachelor pass rate ever” for its matric class of 2023.

These bachelor passes are for learners to be able to study at university, but between the nightmare at NSFAS and now signs that having a degree is providing less of an advantage at finding work, the bachelor pass rate doesn’t have the same air of celebration.

More and more reports indicate that a large portion of South Africans are settling for jobs that they are overqualified for simply because there are not enough positions available locally. According to a report on the most in-demand jobs locally, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) says that just over one in two South Africans are overqualified for the job they are working in.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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