WP 12/152 - Employment Outcomes and Returns to Earnings in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Haroon Bhorat, Natasha Mayet

Date of Publication: 
November 2012

This paper attempts to understand some of the key drivers of employment and earnings trends within the South African labour market in the 15 years following the demise of apartheid. A number of factors are discussed which feature in the understanding of South Africa’s labour market dynamics in general, and its high unemployment levels in particular. The role of demographic characteristics in determining labour market outcomes is investigated, along with employment trends by sector. The paper also analyses the skills mismatch between labour demand and supply. The role played by the institutional regulatory framework in the labour market is examined and estimates of the wage premia associated with union and bargaining council membership are presented. The paper also discusses the role played by the quality of higher education in determining labour market success.

The assistance of DPRU researchers: Elne Jacobs, George Mutasa and David Tseng, is gratefully acknowledged.
The research, from which this paper emanates, was commissioned and funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Download Working Paper: DPRU WP 12/152