An exploratory study of the variation in unemployment length of graduates of different degree programs
Dunga, Steven Henry
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The drive to reduce poverty and unemployment in most developing or newly industrialized countries has many forms, the most common avenue, however, is the provision of education and a resultant expectation of employment. South Africa has in the past decade struggled with the issue of unemployment. Even in the face of very high graduate rates compared to other countries in the region, there is still high unemployment. The most common in South Africa is frictional as opposed to structural. An obvious expectation is that once people have attended tertiary education, getting a job should be easier than those without any education. However, there seems to be a mismatch between the skills required in the workplace and the skills the graduates looking for jobs have. Using data from graduates of one of the big universities in South Africa, the study investigated on the time, graduates take to get a job focusing on graduates from different degree programs. The results show that graduates eventually get employed but differences exist in the waiting period. The results show that of the six degree programs namely Bachelor of Commerce in Economics, BCom Human Resources, Bachelor of Arts Psychology, Bachelor of Education (BEd), Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts in Law, the law degree graduates have the longest waiting period and the BEd has the shortest waiting period before getting employed. The study, however, showed that all the graduates in the sample were employed. The results also indicated that 58percent of the graduates in the sample were not employed in the field they studied in. The study therefore recommended that to deal with unemployment in general, people should be afforded the opportunity to study for a degree, and that although low paying, BEd provides higher prospects of employment than most other degrees.