Bhorat H, Oosthuizen M, Cassim A, (2014) Occupational Shifts and Skills Challenges Facing the South African Economy.

Author(s):  Bhorat H, Oosthuizen M, Cassim A
Publication year: 

Despite robust economic growth over much of the past 20 years, South Africa still faces significant
challenges in terms of high unemployment, poverty and inequality. One view of what underlies persistently
high unemployment rates is that the economy has demanded high-skilled workers depite the labour force
having an abundance of low-skilled, less educated workers. A mismatch in the types of labour demanded
by firms and supplied by workers has therefore contributed to high unemployment for less-skilled workers.
Bhorat et al. (2013)1 examined this notion through the changing nature of occupational labour market
trends in South Africa and the resulting impact on wages. The skills bias of South African economic growth
had already been established pre-1994. The result has been an increasing wage premium for high-skilled
workers – and the opposite for low-skilled workers – in jobs impacted by technological change and global
competition. Skills-biased labour demand therefore underpins wage inequality, the main determinant of
income inequality, one of the central challenges facing post-apartheid policy-making.

Type(s):  Policy Briefs