South Africa flag South Africa


South Africa's skills snapshot


Developing the relevant skills

  • Does South Africa invest enough in education and training? South Africa spent 4.8% of its annual income on education in 2009, compared to the OECD average of 6.2%.1
  • Should more be done to prevent skills shortages? In 2011, 14% of South Africa’s employers reported recruitment difficulties, down from 39% in 2007.1,2

Supplying skills

  • Is there scope to improve skill utilisation in South Africa through strengthening labour force participation? In 2011, the labour force participation rate of South Africa was 54.3%.3 The participation rate for prime-age women (aged 25-54) is below  the OECD average at 62.6% in 2011 (OECD average 71%).4
  • Is there scope to improve skill utilisation among South Africa’s youth? The participation rate for youth (aged 15/16-24) was 26% in 2011.5 In 2009, the rate of South Africa’s youth neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET) was 32.8%, nearly double the OECD average of 18.6%.6        
  • To what extent are South Africal’s older workers supplying their skills to the labour market? In 2011, only 40% of people aged 55 to 64 were in the labour force, compared to an OECD average of 58%.7 

Using skills

  • How smooth is the transition from school to work for South Africa’s youth? In 2012, the unemployment rate of South Africa’s youth was 49.2%, a high rate compared with the OECD average of 17.1%.8
  • Are the qualifications of South Africa’s workers well matched with the requirements of their jobs?  In 2005, 24% of South Africa’s workers were over-qualified for their jobs (against theOECD average of 25%), and 27% were under-qualified (against the OECD average of 22%).9 Over-qualified (under-qualified) workers are those who have a higher (lower) qualification than the most common qualification of all other workers in the same occupation

Key recommendations from the OECD Skills Strategy

A country can develop the relevant skills by encouraging and enabling people to learn throughout life; fostering international mobility of skilled people to fill skills gaps; and promoting cross-border skills policies.

A country can activate the supply of skills by encouraging people to offer their skills to the labour market and retaining skilled people in the labour market.

A country can put skills to effective use by creating a better match between people’s skills and the requirements of their job and increasing the demand for high-level skills.

For more information, see the:

OECD Policy Map on Skills | OECD Skills Strategy | Skills Strategy: Overview


Add comment