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Authors: Matschke, Maximilian
Title: Youth Employment Scenarios for South Africa in 2035. An Interdisciplinary Approach Combining Anthropology, Economics, and Systems Theory
Online publication date: 23-Apr-2020
Language: english
Abstract: Youth unemployment in South Africa is a ticking time bomb: about half of the working-age population under the age of 34 does not have a job. Without a job, there is no income. With-out an income, there is no way to build a future. The Arab spring vividly illustrated the consequences of widespread dissatisfaction amongst socioeconomically desperate young people. The Arab spring has also taught us that the future is anything but predictable. What does the future of South Africa look like considering its masses of desperate, unemployed, and unskilled youth? Is there the possibility of disarming this ticking time bomb, and how would we prepare for the event of its detonation? This research project illustrates four possible future states of youth employment in South Africa in the year 2035. Utilizing scenario analysis rooted in complex systems theory while building on statistical and field research, allows us to identify the status quo, the drivers for employment, and the future scenarios. 90 expert interviews, along with interview data from 20 municipalities in South Africa with the highest absolute youth unemployment rate, fieldwork in six townships, and a scenario sounding board of 27 experts, ranging from teachers, social workers, academics, business representatives, policy makers to affected youth, allowed for identifying the current challenges, the eleven key drivers for employment, and the scenarios for 2035. The 13 current challenges are: (a) 48% of youth not having work while the biggest issue is among job entrants, (b) job prospects being best in urban areas and the Western Cape, and worst in rural areas and the Eastern Cape, (c) black Africans being disproportionately affect-ed by unemployment compared when to other ethnic groups in South Africa, (d) a direct correlation between increased educational attainment and lower levels of unemployment and desperation, (e) university graduates having a 95% chance of finding a job, (f) 3/4 of unemployed youth never having worked before, (g) 1/3 of the employed youth with an informal job, (h) most jobs being paid labour, (i) little extant entrepreneurial activity amongst youth, with just 9% engaged in entrepreneurial activities, (j) youth hustling for low paid day jobs, not utilising third-party support, (k) the challenges in finding a job being varied, but largely based lacking technological, social and physical access, (l) a lack of role models in the social environment, (m) level of contentment is low and the willingness for violent protest is high. The eleven drivers are: (1) number of available jobs (most impactful driver), (2) access to entrepreneurship capabilities, (3) demographic shifts, (4) migration patterns, (5) schooling system, (6) skills development, (7) health, (8) access to jobs, (9) structural employment barriers, (10) social and cultural environment, and (11) perceived inclusion of youth into society (most uncertain driver). The four scenarios of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, span extremes that could possibly befall youth in South Africa, namely the South African version of the Arab spring, where young people riot or agitate for extreme political and social change due to the belief that access to education and jobs is only possible through social status or corruption (Spring), fair access to a high number of jobs (Summer), a decline in the number of jobs where merit-based access for youth is granted (Fall), and the collapse of the economy, and youth falling into desperation (Winter). Five proposals for fighting youth unemployment are presented to avoid an impending Winter in South Africa: (1) boosting of the economy in targeted geographies and industries, (2) training of youth to start a business, (3) stimulating small and medium-sized enterprises, (4) sending unemployed, unskilled youth abroad for skills development and to where their labour is in need, and (5) an employer-demand-led training model.
Youth, employment, unemployment, scenario analysis, complex systems, South Africa, education, employment drivers, employment initiatives, solutions for unemployment, job availability, Factfulness
DDC: 300 Sozialwissenschaften
300 Social sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 07 Geschichts- u. Kulturwissensch.
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-diss-1000034780
Version: Original work
Publication type: Dissertation
License: In Copyright
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Extent: XII, 260 Seiten
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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