Saturday, December 21, 2013

Scarce Skills in South Africa

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Read This and Weep

The South African Labour Department has published a pamphlet entitled “ Scarce Skills”.

Scarce Skills in South Africa

It bears testimony to the failure of the ANC – Cosatu – SA Communist Party alliance to create a suitable education system and healthy environment for business and therefore job creation in this country.
It also testifies to their mismanagement of the macro economy, so that the salaries of lower-end paid workers are inadequate to support useful life.
The intended readers of the brochure are job seekers.
The introduction notes that jobs are scarce and encourages people to study for scarce skills. It defines a scarce skill as “a qualification or job for which there are too little [sic.] people in South Africa doing the job.”
A section entitled “What Jobs are Scarce?” makes interesting reading. All areas of the economy are short of skilled personnel.
Managers of all descriptions are scarce, including chief executives, general managers and legislators; specialist managers; construction, distribution and production / operations managers, IT managers; events, hospitality, retail and services managers, and so on.
Professionals are required by the hundred in every field: arts and media, accountants, auditors, actuaries, human resources, information and organization, sales and marketing, public relations, architects, surveyors, engineers, school teachers, scientists, midwifery and nursing, business system analysts and programmers, database and systems managers, solicitors and so forth.
Then there are shortages of technicians and trade workers in agriculture, medicine and science, building, engineering, telecommunications, manufacturing and process, fabrication, automotive industry, panelbeaters, bricklayers, carpenters and joiners, glaziers, plumbers, electricians, electronics, food trades, health and welfare support, hospitality, defence force, fire departments, sports and fitness.
There are similar lists of scarce skills in the areas of clerical and administrative workers, sales workers, machinery operators and drivers, stationary plant operators, mobile plant operators, vehicle drivers, store persons.
Here the brochure becomes worrying.
In a country with 40% unemployment (that’s about 12 million unemployed) there is a lack of elementary workers skilled in laundry work, construction and mining, factory process, farming, forestry, gardening, freight handlers and shelf packers, deck and fishing hands, handypersons [sic.], motor vehicle parts and accessories fitters, printing assistants and table servers.
In other words, there is a shortage of manual labourers.
But then, what do you expect in a country where the education system is on life support? Only 60% of children finish high school (most of them with worthless matric certificates), just 10% of schools have functional libraries and only 15% of people who enter university go on to graduate?
Besides, who wants to slave away in a forest or factory when you can sign up for a social grant and live on cigarettes and alcohol?
And why strive to get qualifications when those that have more significant skills can barely pay the rent with their salaries?
And why stick around South Africa when qualified managers, professionals, technicians, managers and other top class personnel can get much more money by emigrating to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom etc.?
Be afraid.

1 comment:

  1. The definition of unemployment is an oversupply of workers. If there is 40 percent unemployed in South Africa (the official numbers seem to be around 24 percent) it is because of lack of jobs. If there was an undersupply of workers, salaries would go up. The literacy rate in South Africa is 93 percent and even though a large percent do not finish high school they would be able to work within industries with heavy and relative simple manual labor. You do not need a high school diploma to work as a plumper, taxi driver or for that matter put groceries in a bag. South Africa is problematic because there is a rapidly growing population in a society that is not able to create more jobs on any level. What is even more problematic is that the rapidly growing populations consist mainly of low or non-skilled workers and not people that statistically would be able to create jobs. South Africa has also failed to create an industrial and market friendly environment focusing on export because of heavy socialist policies. In the same time they have failed to protect SA borders and lowering birth rates among the population – which is one of the keys to lower supply of workers.

    Liberals often claim that a growing population equals higher profits through rising consumptions. This is partly true but what is also true is that with a rising population there also comes with a financial cost. People cost money. Further, a complex and highly technological economy are not in need of workers in the same rate. They may consume but they can only consume if they hold a job and jobs are rapidly moving away from South Africa. The socialist state solution is of course to give government handouts to the unemployed. If they did not they would see social unrest.

    Western countries actually do the same thing as South Africa. United States sends industrial production abroad which leads to unemployment. The unemployed industrial workers than begin to work in the Service business. There they make little money and cannot consume as they could before and the profits for the Service business is going down. To lower cost United States import millions of workers from the third world that works for very low salaries. Now they make profits again but that industrial worker is now once again unemployed. He is told like millions of others to go to college and he does. He graduates and ends up unemployed again because there is now an oversupply of college graduates. He ends up living on a welfare check and consume very little. In the same time that Mexican that works for nothing does not makes enough to consume. Now the profits diminishing for the Service business and they end up closing. In the same time the government needs to pay for all people on welfare so they borrow money and try to create jobs by giving money away to unprofitable corporations and banks. To repay debt, the US print money, which causes inflation. African leaders actually do the same thing as Western leaders but the Western leaders are much smarter in their approach.