South Africa is in the grips of what is probably the worst economic slump that we have ever experienced. All South Africans have been affected with some finding themselves in the unfamiliar territory of the chronically unemployed.
Corruption, theft of taxpayers money and outright in-competence have plagued the South African public for over a decade and has eventually come to a head. This has obviously affected the job seeker in the worst way possible. Rising fuel prices, increased taxes and less and less work around. Some finding themselves in a position that they have never been in before. Possibly living in a Granny Flat at the in-laws and not being able to afford smallest of things. These are educated, productive people with years of valuable experience going to waste.
Unfortunately the large corp-orates are ruthless and brutal in their culling process. They shed staff like they were over populated antelope, wielding the battle ax of retrenchment willy nilly. This is usually done with little to no care or compassion for the living and breathing bread winner, and the ripple effect that his retrenchment creates around him is devastating.
Smaller companies where the environment has been more intimate, usually show a bit more care and compassion for their employees and the retrenchment process is less brutal, but unfortunately has he same outcome. Unfortunately for the retrenched bread winner, his children cannot eat “care and compassion”. This is the reality that surrounds us everyday and has been on a dwindling spiral of misery for some time now.
To top this mistreatment of the of the job seeker, he then gets exploited by those companies that are employing. Drastically reduced salaries are offered to professional candidates on a “take it or leave it” basis. As a recruiter I sometimes feel ashamed that this is all I can get for the candidate, but also realize that a half loaf is better than no loaf. This still does not make it right but if the candidate does not accept, there is always someone in the job line willing to work for pittance.
On a more positive note, economies strengthen and weaken consistently all the time. South Africa is no different. Although we have witnessed the devastation caused by corrupt leaders in Zimbabwe, but no matter what the naysayers say, we are not Zimbabwe, not even close.
What does South Africa have to look forward to post the 2019 elections? In my opinion, a lot! The government will start to spend money on infrastructure and housing. This will attract confidence from local and international investors. What does this mean for the job seeker in South Africa? Keeping in mind that a large portion of the professional skills in South Africa have hopped the fence and ventured north into Africa, or crossed the pond to New Zealand, Australia or the United Kingdom. The pool of local competent and experienced professionals has never been so shallow.
As I stated right in the beginning, economies weaken and strengthen consistently, and South Africa’s is no different. The economy is about to uptrend, strengthen and become livable again. This may still happen in 2019 and probably will. What will happen when it does? The tables will turn. The abused, exploited and even destitute job seeker will become king. Especially if he is experienced and competent and preferably educated. There will be too many jobs and not enough workers. High paying jobs will be there for the picking and I will be waiting there to help you find you the job you want. The trick for the job seeker is to find a way to survive until then.
In short, don’t give up hope. things will change and get better. There is light at the end of the tunnel. That’s just how economies work.