How to make job seeking affordable

South Africa is experiencing some of the highest unemployment rates in history. Statistics South Africa show that 34,5% of South African residents are currently unemployed. We are becoming increasingly aware that drastic measures and changes need to be implemented for us to see a change.


By Dané Meyer on Thu Mar 24 2022

Where do we start? The are many facets of unemployment that all contribute to our current high rate, including accessibility, cost, job availability, education and skills. The majority of these issues will need a long term oriented solution so that the results can be long-lasting.

Affordability and accessibility are two major players adding to the unemployment of South Africans, however, there are options available to create significant change in a shorter timeframe.

The Cost of Job Seeking: Traditional VS Online Job Seeking

The average South African job seeker can spend up to R700 per month looking for a job.

The 2020 estimated transport costs associated with job seeking at an average of R280,00 per month. A further R380,00 has been estimated in 2019 for other fees such as printing and possible agent costs. Both these estimates are case study-specific but have the common finding of more money spent than what a job seeker can afford. These studies were also conducted pre-covid which would suggest that with inflation, these costs have only gotten higher.

Both of these costs can drastically be decreased, and even eliminated, by changing the job application norm to online platforms. By using online platforms, like JOBJACK, there is no need for printing or travel costs to drop off paper CVs and can also give a job seeker access to a number of added resources.

Unfortunately, there are still some costs associated with online applications such as the cost of data. The average cost of data in South Africa is estimated at R88,00 for 1GIG, adding us to the list of high-cost data countries.

However, this challenge can directly be addressed by creating zero-rated, or data free, application platforms approved by South African service providers. Service providers have a big opportunity to bridge the gap for job seekers concerning application costs. MTN has already created their OpenTime initiative that allows their users data-free access to pre-approved web pages in the health, education and employment sectors.

Even if online platforms have technological access and data costs associated with the application process, it is still more cost-effective with a clear suggested solution to subsidise or even remove data costs by service providers.

Smartphones also allow for easy access to job sites and email and local hotspots can even help with data costs, should no data free option be available.


Applying on online platforms also creates greater accessibility to more available job opportunities.

To a job seeker, this is another benefit of online applications. In comparison, traditional methods like dropping off CVs can even have a lower success rate, as some companies might not even be hiring where the CV is dropped off. In a scenario like this, job seekers also would have spent money on a process that will most likely not yield a result.

To access online platforms, you do need a digital device that not all people possess. However, platforms luckily aren’t device-specific and can be accessed through a borrowed phone or internet cafe.

The amount of opportunities that are available for digital applications still overshadows dropping off manual CVs. Not only are you exposed to more opportunities, but jobs posted on platforms are also from companies that are actively hiring.

Online platforms and further opportunities

Online platforms have the added benefit of technological advancement which in turn allows for further opportunities for job seekers. Online resources can be made available for upskilling, interview preparation, CV advice and further mentoring.

In order to make a change in unemployment, we need to not only identify the contributing factors but need to start implementing strategies that will make a difference. At JOBJACK we have identified accessibility and affordability as two key contributors to unemployment that we are trying to address with our online jobs platform.