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The job market: good or bad news?

Sanelle Hobbs of Exceed Human Resource Consultants discusses this, that and the other regarding the South African job market.

Increased job creation was once again a high priority in the budget speech of the Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan. In his 2010 speech, when he announced the increased spend on job creation and education, he indicated that, “Education spending remains our largest spending, giving meaning to our commitment that it is our number one priority, with a total budget of R165 billion.”

In his most recent budget speech he said, “We must offer young work-seekers real hope where at present there is despair. We need to do things differently. We need to have the courage to pilot new approaches and build new partnerships, promoting innovation throughout our economy.”

In an article by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, we are warned against mediocrity. “I have no problem with this candidate, who has 38% for math literacy, insisting on being admitted to university. With the society that sets the bar for performance so low, I have a serious problem.”

We are slowly digging our own graves if we accept a level of mediocrity – no wonder our unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world. Prof. Jansen’s advice to parents (and society) is that not only should they insist that their children take mathematics as subject, but both parents and society should help them to excel.

An inspiring story
The tale of a boy called Bonginkosi constitutes a modern day miracle. He went to school in his hometown of Belfast, not far from the Kruger Park. After attending a leadership training course, Bonginkosi started thinking of pursuing a degree in astrophysics at the University of Cape Town. An obstacle was his average grade for maths and science, which was 57%. In a school with no library and no science lab, he kept the dream alive – and achieved 100% in both maths and science in his final matric exam. He was one of only two learners in the country to accomplish this feat.

In conclusion
As a society we should refuse to accept mediocrity or the lowering of standards. Our professionals, whether doctors, chartered accountants or other graduates, are respected abroad for their high work standard. By continuing to invest at grass roots level and lifting the mathematical literacy, we can equip people to become good employees, and decrease the unemployment rate.

There is a steady influx of South Africans who have worked abroad and long to work back home. All in all, the job market is showing signs of recovery.

For more information please contact Sanelle Hobbs at Exceed Human Resource Consultants on tel. 021 882 8140 or e-mail