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Young South Africans have to choose between eating and looking for work



More than 80% of unemployed young people in South Africa have to choose between looking for work and buying food. This is according to a study led by Youth Capital’s advocacy campaign and Open Dialogue on job search costs.

“This is a frightening statistic,” Kristal Duncan-Williams, project leader, said during the virtual launch of the report, co – hosted by the DG Murray Trust on Thursday.

The results are based on a survey of 2,200 respondents aged between 18 and 34, most of whom were looking for work at the time. Between August and November 2021 they were asked how much they spend on data and behavior looking for work, and where they get the money to look for work.

When asked if they had to choose between looking for work and buying food, 84% of participants answered “yes”.

The study was built on the results of 2019 Siyakha Youth Assets Study, youth unemployment. Siyakha’s study found that young South Africans, on average, spend R938 a month looking for work. These costs include transportation, data or internet usage, printing, certification, copying, postage, scanning, as well as application or agency fees.

When it comes to finding money to look for work, the majority of participants – 69% – said they borrow money from family members. Another 20% said they borrowed from a friend, and 27% said they used a government grant.

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The survey found that 44% of respondents had been looking for a job for over a year.

Duncan-Williams said that while applications are accessible online, young people still have to travel to verify their documents. “There is still a requirement to send certified copies of their documents, which means they will have to travel to the police station or post office, which costs money.”

The researchers said young people in their communities need better services that lower the cost of job searching, such as using public libraries and other sites to make online applications. They said young people were often unaware of the range of services designed to connect them to what they needed.

Organizations involved in skills training should be able to connect young people with employment opportunities and ways to pursue activities that strengthen their CVs, such as volunteering and job shadowing. Youth employment programs should ensure a good fit between young people and potential employers, and give young people transferable skills, they said.

According to StatsSA, almost two – thirds of people aged 15 to 24 are unemployed.

“It is vital that solutions to address job search costs go beyond financial costs alone, and build on existing interventions to remove roadblocks faced by young people. their journey to a sustainable career, ”said the researchers.

This article was first published on GroundUp and republished with permission. Read the original article here.

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