THE latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey shows that education remains a key determinant to the type and level of employment one enjoys, their salary and prospects of having it paid in full during disruptions such as the national lockdown.
The survey went into some detail in analysing the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market.
The survey found that 2.2 million lost their jobs during the second of 2020, but the unemployment rate fell from 30.1 % in the first quarter to 23.3% in the second quarter.
This is because a total of 5 million people dropped out of the labour force to become economically inactive for reasons other than being discouraged work seekers.
The survey confirms that education influence prospects of being employed.
It found that of the 4,3million people defined as unemployed in the second quarter just over a third, or 36.3 %, did not have matric while over half, at 53 %, had less than matric.
This means 89% of unemployed people have a matric of less.
While unemployed gradates are a point of policy focus in South Africa’s debate on unemployment, they account for only 2.4% of the unemployed, while 7.5% have other tertiary qualification.
Since 2012, the unemployment rate is consistently highest among those without matric, at around 30%, followed by those with matric at between 25% and 28.7% and closely matching the overall unemployment rate.
Other tertiary accounts for about 15% to 17 %, while for graduates the rate is consistently the lowest at around 5% but peaked at a worryingly high 9.1% in the first quarter of this year.
The national lockdown severely affected workers employment prospects and earnings, but those with post matric qualification fared better.
Stats SA found that there were 11.5 million employed persons who continued to receive their salary during the lockdown.
About one in five of the employed had a reduction in their pay/salary during the lockdown.
“Those with higher levels of education had higher chances of receiving a full salary than those with lower levels of education. Almost 9 in every 10 employed graduates (89.7%) continued to receive full salaries, compared to 75.2% of those with less than matric as their highest level of education,” says the statistics agency.
For those with matric, the rate was slightly higher at 77.6 % and among those with other tertiary qualification, the rate stood at 83.2%.
Stats SA has also found, through another survey, the Quarterly Earnings Survey (QES) that the proportion of employees in permanent employment and with higher average salaries is consistently highest among graduates.
Those without post matric education now face the prospect of falling into the category of not being in Employment, Education or Training (NEETs).
Compared to the second quarter of a year earlier, the percentage of young persons aged 15–34 years who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) increased by 4.4 percentage points from 40.3% to 44.7% ,out of 20.5 million in the second quarter of this year.
The NEET rate for males increased by 4.9 percentage points, while for females the rate increased by 4.0 percentage points to 47.9 % in the second quarter of this year.
In both instances, the second quarter of 2019 and 2020, more than four in every ten young people were not in employment, education or training.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)