Johannesburg - Universities are producing the wrong kind of
graduates to redress South Africa's high unemployment rate, a labour analyst
said on Tuesday.
"There are currently nearly 600 000 unemployed
university graduates in South Africa, mostly in the arts, humanities and social
sciences," said Adcorp labour market analyst Loane Sharp in a statement.
"Whereas the private sector has more than 800 000
vacancies in management, engineering, law, finance, accounting and
Sharp said some professional bodies also restricted entry
into their fields through the standards they set, often in concert with
This was typically backed by legislative and regulatory
Sharp said, for example, the General Council of the Bar, the
law societies, the Health Professions Council of SA and the Institute of
Chartered Accountants set their own criteria - like exams and low-paid
articleship or housemanship - as a prerequisite for entry into the professions.
"By contrast, fields such as physics, finance,
engineering, economics and management do not have professional bodies," he
A supplementary analysis to the Adcorp Employment Index
released on Tuesday found that government handouts, trade unions and
affirmative action were negatively affecting the desire to work in South
"As many as 10.2 million South Africans - one in five -
receive grants of one form or another, amounting to 14.9 million grants or 1.5
grants per recipient, yielding average annual transfers of R9 539 per
beneficiary," Sharp said.
Referring to Statistics SA's Quarterly Labour Force Survey,
Sharp said 43% of unemployed people were willing to accept a job, if offered,
when they were living off their own savings.
In contrast, only 11% of people would accept a job if they
were supported by social grants and welfare.
"Unemployed people are also more likely to remain out
of work if they are supported by social grants and welfare: the average
duration of unemployment is 16 months for people who do not receive grants,
compared to 21 months for people who do."
Sharp said trade unions also appeared to discourage work.
"Only 9.3% of unionised workers, as opposed to 17.8% of
non-unionised workers, are prepared to work additional hours in a given week.
"And, of those who will do so, unionised workers are
prepared to work an additional 0.9 hours a week compared to 2.4 hours a week
for non-unionised workers."
The index showed that affirmative action also discouraged
some job seekers.
Highly qualified whites were substantially less likely than
blacks to find a job within 12 months of initiating a job search.
For job-seekers with a tertiary qualification, blacks were
34% more likely to find work than whites.
"This has contributed to the higher percentage of
whites operating their own businesses."
"Business owners' share of national income increased
from 39.9% in 1995 to 47.2% in 2011, while employees' share has correspondingly
declined," Sharp said.