The importance of matric/degrees for employment in SA

Census 2011 25-35 years olds

The above table was calculated from the Census 2011 data (thanks Hendrik Van Broekhuizen for his supercross skills) and reflects the employment status of those aged 25-35 years old in 2011. From the table it’s clear that those with higher levels of education are more likely to participate, more likely to be employed, and less likely to be discouraged. Only 39% of those who do not obtain matric were employed compared to 82% of those with a degree. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of the youth do not have degrees. For every one 25-35 year old that had a degree there were 11 who did not even have a matric. Given that this is for the 25-35 year old cohort (as at 2011), it’s not clear what the picture will be for the matrics of 2013. What we do know is that there have been worsening labour market prospects for those with matric, combined with a situation where more and more youth have a matric certificate. Consequently, it is understandable that many South African universities are now supplementing the NSC results with NBT test results when determining who gets into what programs. To get into UCT Engineering, for example, the admission points from the NBTs and those from the NSC are weighted equally. Even a cursory glance at the media coverage of the 2013 matric results would lead one to think that the days of blind faith in the quality of the matric certificate are rapidly coming to an end.

broad unempl

2 responses to “The importance of matric/degrees for employment in SA

  1. Nic, I would like to discuss with you how our Actuarial Society of South Africa sponsored Maths & Science website can help teachers and learners around the country. Please contact me at: Our website is:

  2. Hi, I would like to knowm what happens to those that don’t have matric? They got life to live. How are they going to do that if they can’t get a job?

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