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South Africa – 2.6 million temporary jobs added since 2000

11 January 2013

Employment opportunities in South Africa improved by +0.8% last month adding an extra 12,566 new jobs with temporary labour outperforming the permanent placement market, according to the latest employment index by staffing market leader Adcorp.

Job growth was posted in all sectors except for mining and manufacturing. Temporary vacancies rose by 9,074 while permanent ones dropped by 5,542 in December.

The informal sector, which is not covered by official statistics, showed strong growth and created 9,024 new jobs. The primary and secondary sectors, responsible for the sourcing and manufacturing of goods, saw further job losses. By contrast, the tertiary sectors which mainly consists of the service sector, gained 17,000 jobs.

The strongest employment growth was seen in transport (+12.7%), followed by wholesale and retail trade (+3.4%,) and construction (+4.7%).

The research shows that the economy added 125,029 jobs in the last four months of the year, reversing the decline seen in the previous eight months.

It also points to significant growth in the temporary labour market. From 2000 to 2012, the number of permanent jobs declined by 1.9 million, while temporary jobs grew by 2.6 million, Adcorp said.

“Currently temporary jobs account for 30.5% of all jobs in South Africa, up from 11% in 2000,” said Loane Sharp from Adcorp. “In other words, all of the growth in jobs over the past decade has been of a temporary nature.”

“In circumstances of variable and unpredictable sales volumes, employers are able to match their labour input to output levels by utilising temporary workers. The growing effect of seasonality on output levels in agriculture, retail trade, tourism, catering, logistics and other sectors has increased the use of temporary workers in these sectors,” he said.

But Mr Sharp warned that South Africa’s labour legislation was becoming “increasingly onerous” as regulatory burdens are rising. 

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