The latest statistics from Stats SA revealed that South Africa’s unemployment rate climbed to a record 30.1% in the first quarter of this year from 29.1% in the fourth quarter of last year. In concrete numbers, that translates to an additional 344 000 people unemployed, and a total of 7.1 million people out of work.

While this is the highest unemployment, rate in the last decade, the worst is yet to come. Experts predict a 40% unemployment rate in the second quarter, due to the impact of lockdown, which will plummet further as entire industries cut their labour force to stay afloat.

Jake Willis, CEO of Lulaway, describes a decline in job seeking activities during this lockdown period since March 26, correlating to the decrease in job opportunities and overall economic standstill.

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“Prior to lockdown, we received an average of 600 CVs per day. During lockdown, we received less than 100 CVs per day, due to job seekers believing that their chances of getting work are close to none as many companies have either retrenched workers or permanently closed their doors to best comply with the government’s covid-19 regulations. While this number is slowly picking up, the job market is severely strained at the moment.”

Willis emphasizes that this does not mean there are no jobs available. In specific industries, companies are recruiting, as changing consumer habits drive new demands.

“The obvious and biggest need we see is for drivers. The demand for food delivery services has exploded, along with the urgent need to hire licensed scooter drivers and car drivers. Uber Eats, Mr Delivery, Takealot and all online shopping is growing daily, creating new jobs along with it.”

Another promising announcement was Amazon’s opening 3000 jobs for South Africans.

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“South Africa has the potential to be a world leader in BPO (Business Process Outsourcing). We have the advantage of having quality graduates, IT infrastructure, and talented candidates. We hope to see this trend increasing, along with a national strategy to attract this kind of employment”

An important fact that job seekers are missing is that even though there is a pandemic, life will go back to normal and all economic activities will resume. It is with this that they need to constantly be on the lookout for opportunities that may rise.

Willis admits that the next months are not going to be easy as the full effects of lockdown, and a post-corona reality, set in, but with time, partnership and strategic interventions, the country can, and will see growth.