As the country grapples with joblessness and slow economic growth‚ the Ipsos What Worries the World survey shows almost 70% of South Africans cited unemployment as their top concern.
Forty-two percent of the rest of the world chose inflation.
“By contrast‚ India‚ the country with the second-highest level of concern about unemployment‚ trails far behind South Africa at just 49%. On a global level‚ the issue of unemployment ranks as the fourth biggest concern (out of a list of 18)‚ with a mere 27% selecting it as a worry‚” the survey found.
It also found that among the 29 countries surveyed‚ only nine saw an increase in concern about unemployment from the previous year.
“While other nations are showing signs of employment recovery after Covid-19‚ the growing unease about unemployment in South Africa serves as a stark reminder of the challenges facing the country‚” the study found.
South Africa’s official unemployment rate stands at more than 30%‚ while joblessness for those aged between 15 and 24 is at more than 60%.
Statistics indicate the country’s unemployment rate surged to a record high of 34.4% in Q4 2020‚ from 23.3% a year earlier.
The impact of unemployment is particularly pronounced for women‚ with a staggering 35.5% of them unemployed compared with 30.4% of men.
“Unemployment in South Africa has deep-rooted causes that date back several decades. The Covid-19 pandemic has further compounded these problems‚ resulting in a loss of 3 to 4-million jobs that have yet to be regained. With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis‚ people are increasingly desperate to secure employment opportunities‚” said Kelly Arnold‚ manager for Ipsos in South Africa.
The study found the unemployment challenge here was compounded by the uneven distribution of joblessness across the population.
“The youth are disproportionately affected‚ with a staggering 61% of those aged 15 to 24 being unemployed during the last quarter of 2022. Even more concerning is that 33.6% (or 3.4-million out of 10.2-million) of people in this age group are not in employment‚ education or training‚” said the survey.
The pervasive worry about unemployment in South Africa is not limited to concerns about the present‚ but also reflects a broader sense of unease about the country’s future. Nearly nine in 10 South Africans believe South Africa is headed in the wrong direction.
Source: ARENA Holdings.