SA youth unemployed because “no money” to apply: survey

It’s the costs involved in printing CVs, accessing internet, transport and even bribes that were a barrier to finding a job.


A new survey has found that one of the contributing factors to young South Africans unable to find jobs was the costs involved in applying for work.

The study is ongoing since 2013 and is conducted by the Siyakha Youth Assets for Employability Study.

It said young South Africans battled with money to use in order to hunt for work and most relied on family members for funds.

On average, South African youths spend R938 a month looking for work, according to the study.

This cost includes transport, printing and internet access, in some cases also bribes.

The unemployment rate in South Africa stands at 27% – rising from 21% in the past 10 years.

The picture is even more alarming when you consider the unemployment statistics. Over the last decade unemployment in South Africa has increased from 21.5% to 27.2%.

The study was released in February 2019 and showed that while factors such as lack of skills and an economy struggling to grow were contributors the process of finding work is expensive.

The Siyakha Youth Assets also offers some form of skills training and gives young people advice on finding work.



The researchers interviewed mostly black Africans from poor communities and found that there was a factor other than limited skills, lack of work experience and high wage expectations, and that that was the exuberant costs in applying.

1, 986 young people participated in the Siyakha skills development programmes from 48 training sites across South Africa.

This affected mainly black youth in the townships, it found, and the reason for this is that apartheid era spatial planning, in which townships were established far away from economic hubs, continues to affect the ability of people to look for work in a cost effective way.

Two-thirds of the participants in the study live in townships. This means they have to travel long distances to the urban economic hubs to access job opportunities.

In addition to the burden of travel, internet and printing costs, the study found that over half (51%) of young people are living in homes that are classified as severely food insecure. This means that they, or another member of the household, had gone without food to eat more than once in the 30 days that preceded the baseline study.

This means that households had to make difficult decisions between funding the costs of seeking work and affording basic necessities.

“Our research found that close to two-thirds (61.6%) of participants relied on family members to fund their costs of searching for work, which puts a huge strain on their personal relationships and often made these young people feel like a burden,” it said.

(edited by MLM, with IOL)

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