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South Africa unemployment report 2012

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5 May 2012. Here's some insights shared by Mike Schüssler in the 2012 South Africa unemployment report. South Africa has amongst the best start salaries in the world (if you can get a job), but once you've learned your trade it's best to emigrate, as management is "by far the worst paid".

Pay of unskilled v skilled labour

"All the evidence when compared on actual data & across countries shows that:

Teachers salaries

"After taxes are deducted SA starting salaries (for teachers) may in fact be higher than the rich world! However, when teachers reach their maximum salary scale South Africa falls back & gets about 27% less than the rich world average."

Government salaries

"The lower level civil servants in South Africa are of the best paid unskilled & semi-skilled in the world today...Yet the unskilled & semi-skilled in South Africa nearly have the highest unemployment numbers in the world...Government senior staff are actually paid below both local & international standards generally, but starting salaries are out of sync even for university graduates."

We cannot afford to employ the unskilled

"The economy cannot afford to employ the unskilled. The unskilled form the biggest chunk of the unempoyed & have very little hope of employment - at these prices....The semi skilled are also getting locked out of the labour market as less & less specialised training takes place & salaries here too, at least on starting levels, are also getting too expensive. Even government cannot afford to employ high levels of unskilled; nor can state owned enterprises. Their only hope is the private sector particularly small firms which can escape the high entry level salaries."

State Owned Enterprises

"While almost every SOE has been bailed out over the last 2 decades they have only about 28% of the employees they had in the early 1980s. They have NOT created jobs & have probably destroyed more than 90% of all their unskilled jobs. Pro rata government & SOE's use more temporary workers & therefore probably more labour brokers than the private sector. Employing these people at SOE pay levels would bankrupt them."


"In Q2 of 2011 South African Manufacturing employed fewer employees than in Q2 1972."

Fall in employment numbers

The number of South Africans employed as a percentage of the adult population has fallen from 52% in 1990 to 41% in 2012. During the previous commodity boom of 1973-1981, about 1.8 million private sector jobs were created (despite sanctions). In the current commodity boom only 0.1 million jobs were created.


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