Unemployment in South Africa: Reviewing the impact of JOBJACK in 2022

In order to sustainably create positive change, we need to directly assess and address the factors contributing to our high unemployment rate.


By Dané Viljoen on Thu Feb 16 2023

Identifying and addressing job seeker barriers

Two of the most prominent contributors to unemployment in South Africa are the high cost of job seeking and limited access to job opportunities. Early studies like the 2016 Siyakha Youth Assets Study investigated the excessive cost of job seeking and identified that the combination of transport and printing costs can add up to R605 per month for job seekers.

Recent surveys, such as Youth Capital's 2022 Beyond the Cost survey, identified that job seekers can spend between R250-R499 per month on transport, R250-R499 on data and R0-R249 on printing and application fees relating to job seeking.

In response to these two issues, JOBJACK's online platform has offered a solution where job seekers can register, be guided through CV creation and access more opportunities in their areas. In addition to this, job seekers can apply data free while on the Vodacom and MTN network. Currently, Vodacom and MTN hold 72% of the wireless subscriber carrier share, accounting for the majority of network users. Ideally, JOBJACK would like to expand this data free service to all network users.

In February 2022, the JOBJACK Platform reached over a million registered job seekers and has since grown to 1.5 million. This has reinforced the need for a job seeker solution and affirmed JOBJACK’s potential as an answer to overcoming the high cost of finding employment.

Unemployment in South Africa

Unemployment and dependants

Unemployment significantly affects the individual, especially those with multiple dependants, as is the case in many of South Africa’s communities today.

Considering the registered users on JOBJACK, approximately 57% of job seekers support at least one other person in their household. 17% are single women between the age of 20 and 30 with at least one dependent. This leaves many South African families vulnerable to the harsh realities of unemployment.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey identified that in Q3 35,1% of unemployed South Africans are female. Comparably, we find that of the job seekers registered on JOBJACK, 70% are female. However, of the job seekers that found employment by using JOBJACK in 2022, 68.22% were female.

Youth unemployment

The Q3 2022 Quarterly Labour Force Survey 40,5% of unemployed South Africans are youth between the ages of 24 - 35 years.

Similarly, we see in JOBJACK’s registered users, 73% of job seekers are between the age of 20 and 30 years old, reconfirming the large unemployment crisis among South African youth.

Additionally, 3,5 million (34,5%) out of 10,2 million young people aged 15-24 years were not in employment, education or training (NEET), according to the Q3 survey.

JOBJACK’s online platform potentially appears to access and appeal to a larger non-traditional population of unemployed youth and job seekers who are more comfortable applying for jobs from their homes than physically dropping off CVs. During 2022, 78,6% of the hires made through JOBJACK were between the ages of 18 and 29.

We at JOBJACK believe this can form part of the larger Youth Unemployment solution and change the expensive conventional approach that is traditional narrative of job seeking.

The impact survey: evaluating JOBJACK's contribution to change

JOBJACK users were sent the survey three months after successfully being hired through the platform between March and December 2022. A total of 1016 participants completed the survey.

From those surveyed participants, the average job seeking costs incurred by job seekers before using JOBJACK was R824. These costs arise from a combination of printing (R128), data (R214) and transport (R482) for the creation and submission of CVs. This cost is 16.84% of the average household income for South Africans, leaving those unemployed with little option for job seeking.

The high cost of job seeking has led most job seekers to choose between basic necessities and looking for a job: Our survey found that at least six in every ten job seekers were forced to choose between looking for a job and buying food for the week.

Utilising the JOBJACK Platform can eliminate these job seeking costs and can enable job seekers to continue job seeking while avoiding expenditure.

As part of the survey, we also asked for suggestions for platform improvement. These suggestions will be considered in our projects and focus for 2023. However, overall, 95,8% of participants expressed that their JOBJACK profile is an accurate representation of their skills.

How do we know if we are making a positive impact?

The case of Eddie Ngamntwini is a helpful example to illustrate this. Eddie found a job through JOBJACK by following a link from one of our job posters. He describes the application process as easy to follow and that “you don’t really need anyone to assist you, it's just that simple”. In his interview, he further emphasises the importance of being able to access multiple opportunities from just one platform.

Other JOBJACK users, like Martin Bwalya, expressed that, “This platform was very simple and easy to apply. It was very helpful and legit, most importantly it gives unemployed candidate a chance to be employed , and start a living for their selves. be assured you will never miss your interview date because they always remind you to attend to your interview up until the day of your interview”.

On average, 55% of the job seekers that participated in the survey were unemployed prior to finding a job through the platform. Of the surveyed participants, 78.35% found a job through JOBJACK in less than three months. This means that their economic status was directly impacted by their use of the JOBJACK Platform. .

From January to December 2022, 6486 job seekers found employment by using the JOBJACK platform. These individuals and their respective dependents started to receive a stable income in 2022. This contributes to stronger, healthier communities.

In order to help job seekers connect to and ultimately be successful at job applications, an emphasis needs to be placed on businesses and the recruitment methods they currently employ. Urging businesses and individuals to adopt a more affordable and accessible approach to their recruitment increases the visibility of their open vacancies but more importantly, reduces the barrier to employment so that more job seekers have the opportunity to find employment.


Download the condensed version of our survey statistics here.