YES points way to solution to unemployment pandemic

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South Africa’s official Q2 unemployment report, as presented by Statistics South Africa this week, created a lot of confusion. On the one hand, the official unemployment rate declined by 6,8 percentage points to 23,3% from Q1:2020; on the other, there was a steep rise in the number of people not economically active (only 14 million people are employed). The result is that people don’t know where to focus, what numbers to look at, and what it all means.

YES, a business-driven initiative with government and labour, has long believed that job creation will have a direct positive impact on poverty alleviation and social development, and can help reignite the country’s economy as it emerges from the pandemic. YES has created nearly 40,000 new work experiences in the past 20 months in conjunction with more than 1,110 registered private sector partners, including the likes of Telesure Investment Holdings, MTN, ABSA and VW.

The YES model offers South African businesses a way to improve their B-BBEE levels, over and above the standard B-BBEE scorecard elements, while driving impactful transformation. Companies that create a target number of work experiences can benefit with a B-BBEE rating increase of one, or even two, full levels.

“The biggest problem South Africa has right now is that not enough people are contributing to the fiscus, and we have a vast inequality gap,” said Dr Ismail-Saville. “If we are going to grow our GDP and transform our economy, we have to first grow jobs – and the best way of doing this is by creating new pathways to employment opportunities via small business, and innovative models.

“We must do more to reset the economy. That first job for youth is the trigger to an economic cascade of events and is the only way to address inequality quickly. It is inequality which is breaking our nation.”