A recent jobseeker survey by Giraffe highlights a mismatch between work experience and job preferences in the medium skilled segment. Although the largest proportion of jobseekers in the segment had work experience in the retail and hospitality sector, there was a disproportionate number that sought work in admin, call centre and financial services.
Over three thousand experienced, medium-skilled jobseekers- which are jobseekers who earn between R2.5k and R14k per month and typically do not have a degree- were surveyed by Giraffe’s analytics team. All the jobseekers had registered for Giraffe’s recruitment service in Gauteng.
Although nearly 50% of medium-skilled jobseekers had experience primarily in the retail and hospitality sector, only 30% surveyed actually wanted to work in that sector. By contrast, whereas only 8% of jobseekers had experience primarily in admin, more than 20% stated that they wanted to work in admin. A similar trend was observed in the call centre sector.
‘The mismatch is concerning,’ said Shafin Anwarsha, Head of Product at Giraffe. ‘Jobseekers in this segment have unrealistic expectations about the type of work they are qualified to do. However, the apparent surplus of jobseekers in sectors like retail, hospitality and even construction means that recruiters in these segments should be able to find competent, qualified staff. Now would be a great time to open a restaurant.’
The root cause of the mismatch lies in the structure of the South African industrial landscape and education levels. The retail and hospitality sector represents the largest medium-skilled sector and recruits over 450,000 people in Johannesburg, which is one third of the total blue collar workforce in the city. In terms of education, 69% of jobseekers surveyed had matric or below, suggesting that the education level of medium-skilled jobseekers is insufficient for them to be recruited into an admin or call centre role, which require a higher level of numeracy, communication skills and general management skills.
‘Until the level of education improves, the aspiration of medium-skilled jobseekers to work in more demanding jobs will remain in vain,’ affirmed Anwarsha. ‘What we need is a focus on education. The higher the level of education, the more realistic the aspiration will become and the more likely we are to see a shift in the industrial structure- away from retail and manufacturing and towards higher-end services. Until then, jobseekers in this segment will have to accept working in less desirable fields.’
Sources: Giraffe jobseeker survey, May 2015; South African QLFS March 2015. Note: n = 3,412
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