Young people no longer motivated to look for jobs, says expert

Youth month should be a time for every South African to help develop young graduates.

Desiré Pauw, executive: human capital at Momentum Investments, says June, which is Youth Month, should be about South Africans uplifting young people.

“There are quite a few challenges that the South African economy is faced with when it comes to youth unemployment.”

According to Desiré, the most recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) revealed that in the first quarter of 2022, the official unemployment rate was 34,5 percent in South Africa, with 42.1 percent of this number being made up of youth aged between 25 to 34 years.

Year-on-year the unemployment rate among graduates aged 25 to 34 years increased by 6.9 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

“A key insight that caught my attention in the QLFS was the fact that one of the key factors of our youth being inactive is due to discouragement. The future of our country, our youth, our future employees, entrepreneurs, and leaders are no longer motivated to look for jobs,” says Desiré.

She says South Africans who are privileged enough to work can play an important role in building on the existing skills and knowledge of the youth.

“The unfortunate reality is that not all graduates will step into the doors of established corporates or businesses and more than ever, we need entrepreneurs who can solve problems within our beautiful country through innovative solutions.

“As a mom of two young daughters, I want to challenge all working South Africans and even those that have retired to take a stand against youth unemployment. Let each of us take someone under our wing so that we can build a better tomorrow for our youth and also for our children,” says Desiré.

South Africans, Desiré says, can play a mentorship role by helping the youth identify their strengths and help them understand, develop and optimise what they can bring to the table so that they can achieve success.

“Getting mentored is no longer a top-down approach but rather a collaborative exchange where both a mentor and mentee can learn and grow. You are never too young or old (for that matter) to learn from others. Given how the world has changed we can learn a lot from the youth.”

“Every person in this country has a role to play. I want to challenge every South African and especially those employed to take hands and take your place as mentors to our youth. We may not be able to offer every person a job, but we can each play our part in contributing towards youth development and giving them just a glimpse of hope. This month should be a month to trigger action, one graduate at a time.”