South Africa – 2017 Total Workforce Index™ Country Profile Article


The jobless rate in South Africa is now at a 14-year high, topping 36% inclusive of the inactive unemployed labor force. The South African workforce has a nearly 95% literacy rate, but while approximately half are proficient in English only 10% of the total workforce is classified as contingent. This is evidence of a skills mismatch between the available workforce and the skills required to fill open opportunities. Increasing the percentage of the emerging workforce actively enrolled in secondary and tertiary education with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will be critical in correcting the underlying causes of unemployment and skills gap there.

South Africa has entered an economic recession for the first time in eight years, suffering a contraction of the economy led by weak manufacturing and trade in the first quarter of 2017. With nearly three-quarters of the workforce aged 41 and younger, this labor market, while less mature, is moderately flexible with regards to workforce regulations.

One-third of South African employees currently work outside of their employer’s offices. Working remotely or from home has become a more common practice in global organizations since business cloud computing technologies has become pervasive. Employers view the use of remote workers in the region as both cost-effective and beneficial to both employee and employers.

View the full Total Workforce Index 2017 Country Profile – South Africa