The unemployment rate in South Africa was about 27.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018, with more than six million people without jobs.

Unemployment is still a problem even though about 87 000 new jobs have been created since September last year. This is according to the latest employment figures released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday. The unemployment rate in South Africa was about 27.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018, with more than six million people without any jobs.


During a job summit last year president Cyril Ramaphosa said the government hoped new interventions by the government, labour and business would create about an extra 275 000 direct jobs a year.

“This is over and above the jobs that would have been created without these interventions, which was on average about 300 000 a year over the past four years,” said Ramaphosa.

The Confederation of Associations Private Employment Sector (Capes) said although an overnight solution is not feasible, unemployment could be eased.

“Around the globe, temporary employment services play a large role in providing employment opportunities. An example of such is career opportunities for more than 15 million employees per year in the United States.”

“There are many myths surrounding temporary employment services – also known as ‘labour brokers’. In reality, professional and regulated labour brokers provide a valuable service to job seekers, businesses and the economy. These ensure all workers, regardless of their contractual arrangement, enjoy decent working conditions.”


Despite opposition, there has been an increase in the use of labour brokers throughout the industrialised and developing world.

“Work has changed and continues to change daily in response to the so-called fourth industrial revolution,” said Capes.

“These include job redundancy, skills revolutions and the shift to non-standard forms of employment.”


“Demand fluctuates and the composition of the workforce is not what it used to be. The digitalised and robotised era makes skills flexibility essential. Labour brokers are adaptive to such changes. The fourth industrial revolution cannot be stopped. Temporary employment services do not create casual labour. It simply provides an opportunity to manage and benefit from the current and further state of the changing rate of employment.”

Capes said an increasing number of young professionals are opting to work through the temporary employment services model.

“They realise clinging on to one skill set could be limiting with rapid fluctuations in the demand for certain skills,” they said.

The temporary employment services industry has proven to be an important entry point to the labour market.

Each year it provides access to thousands of people – many of whom were previously unemployed.

“Compliance and regulation, however, play an important role. Compliant labour brokers may not have the capacity to eradicate unemployment completely, but the unemployment burden can definitely be eased. Is it not time to adjust to a revolutionary world?”