Four-day work week could help alleviate youth unemployment and boost productivity


A four-day work-week model will benefit both employer and employees, but the extra day should be used to create jobs for unemployed youth, says Onyi Nwaneri.

Afrika Tikkun Services (ATS) CEO Onyi Nwaneni says the four-day work week could offer a unique solution to unemployment while taking the pressure off South Africa’s stressed-out workers.

His view comes after the announcement of an innovative project set to be piloted in South Africa, which will see employers trial the concept with employees locally.

Onyi says while the concept is not a blanket solution for all work environments, he believes that certain working environments will benefit from this approach and that this model could help curb South Africa’s soaring unemployment levels.

“In light of South Africa’s high youth unemployment, employees may be accommodating of a trade-off where the extra day enables someone else to put food on the table for themselves and their family via an employment intervention,” says Onyi.

“Over half of the country’s youth is without work, despite having a tertiary qualification.
According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) the graduate unemployment rate was 40.3 percent for those aged 15 to 24 and 15.5 percent among those aged 25 to 34 years. Among the millions of unemployed, qualified young people are those who may benefit from opportunities created on the open weekday.”

Onyi says allowing workers an extra day to gather themselves, rest and catch up on other aspects of their lives, has already been proven to create better, happier workers in other countries. “Over the past three and a half months in the UK, 88 percent of the 3,000 participants in the UK say they have managed to keep the same productivity level as the longer work week, according to Singularity Hub,” says Onyi.

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