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South Africa Faces Labor Imbalance



From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

The South African Department of Labor reported last month that the nation has too few jobs for unskilled laborers. The department also said there are not enough workers for highly skilled positions. The sharp differences between jobs and skills were apparent recently when officials advertised a job opening in the government. The position was that of auditor-general, or chief financial supervisor.

With a 26 percent unemployment rate nationwide, there was no shortage of interest in the job. Ninety people asked to be considered. But officials said many of them lacked the necessary skills or education. The auditor-general is responsible for supervising and independently examining South Africa's finances. The advertisement said the position required the person to be a trained accountant. But many unqualified people applied.

The Labor Department report blamed the nation's poor education system. But, for unskilled workers, the story is very different. Restaurant industry official TJ Van der Walt says the businesses he works with get a huge number of applications for every job.

Sejamothopo Motau is a member of South Africa's parliament. He says education has been a major problem in South Africa's development. He notes that many blacks received a poor education under white minority rule. Apartheid officially ended in 1994. He says many people are university graduates, but they cannot get jobs where there is a need for skilled workers. This is because the education these graduates have is not enough to place them in jobs with high-skill requirements.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Laurel Bowman.

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