Disparities in SA employment - survey | Fin24
  • Covid-19 Money Hub

    The hub will help answer your business and money questions during the coronavirus crisis.

  • South African Airways

    A draft rescue plan calls for the injection of a further R4.6 billion into the struggling flag carrier.

  • Facebook

    Employees criticise Mark Zuckerberg’s inaction over Donald Trump's comments.


Disparities in SA employment - survey

Jul 29 2015 19:12
Carin Smith

Pretoria - The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey by Stats SA shows interesting disparities regarding youth, gender and race.

There are large disparities in the labour absorption rate by education level within population groups.

The share of the employed population who are graduates was highest among the white (26.9%) and Indian/Asian (22.7%) population groups. Over half of employed black and coloured population did not complete their matric education.

For one employed black graduate, there were five employed white graduates and four employed Indian graduates in the second quarter.

The absorption rate for men is higher than the absorption rate for women in all educational levels. However, the gender gap in absorption rates is narrow among graduates.

The black population (both men and women) are the only population group with absorption rates that were lower than the national rates, irrespective of the educational level.


The survey shows disparities in the unemployment rate among youth and adults. The unemployment rate among youth is more than twice that of adults each year.

As a result of the global recession, the unemployment rate among youth rose from 32.1% in 2008 to 35.5% in 2015.

In 2015 as many as 43.7% of employed youth and 50.1% of employed adults had education levels below matric. More than one out of every two (55.9%) young people and two out of every three adults (66.7%) who were unemployed and looking for work, only had education below the matric level.

Employment gains and losses

Large quarterly gains were observed in the community and social services (98 000), construction (79 000) and trade (73 000) industries. Job losses were recorded in the finance, manufacturing and agriculture industries.

Compared to the same period last year, employment increased by 563 000. The largest annual increases were observed in construction (219 000), agriculture (200 000) and finance (153 000) industries, while the trade and transport industries recorded decreases.

Irrespective of gender, white and Indian/Asian population groups are more dominant in skilled occupations compared to black and coloured population groups.

Proportions of employed black and coloured populations are the largest among semi-skilled occupations for men. However, black women remained vulnerable. About 43.9% were employed in low-skilled occupations compared to only 1% of white women and 3.3% of Indian/Asian women.

Conversely, about 56.7% of white women were employed in skilled occupations compared to only 16.8% of black women and 18.6% of coloured women.

Provincial outlook

Employment increased in six of the nine provinces in the second quarter. The largest quarterly employment gains were observed in Limpopo (85 000), Gauteng (58 000) and North West (28 000).

For the year ended June 2015, employment increased in all the nine provinces. The largest gains in employment were recorded in Gauteng (167 000), Limpopo (79 000) and KwaZulu-Natal (75 000).

At the national level, non-metropolitan municipalities accounted for more jobs compared to metropolitan municipalities. Three of the five provinces with large municipalities recorded more jobs in non-metropolitan municipalities, namely KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Free State.

Employment in Gauteng and Western Cape was highest in metropolitan municipalities compared to the non-metros.

Union membership

More than half of employees (53.7%) had their salary increments determined by their employers only. In the second quarter approximately 3.7 million employees were union members. Of these, unions negotiated salary increments for only 78.1% of those employees who were union members.

Between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015, union membership decreased by 17 000 members.

stats sa  |  employment  |  jobs  |  sa economy  |  youth  |  gender


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Company Snapshot

Voting Booth

How has Covid-19 impacted your financial position?

Previous results · Suggest a vote