Working in the Netherlands

Working in the Netherlands

Flexible employment: Addressing the South-African unemployment pandemic (1)


The South African population is rapidly growing but the labour force decreased by 235 000 persons between the third quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2012. This decrease was reflected in a decrease in the number of both unemployed persons (166 000) and employed persons (68 000), which saw the unemployment rate decline by 0.6 of a percentage point from 25.5 percent to 24.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Source: Statistics South Africa

The unemployment rate for South Africa was 24.9% for the last quarter of 2013. In South-Africa the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force. What is alarming is that the number of discouraged unemployed persons increased by 87 000 between the third quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2012. A discouraged unemployed person is someone that gave up any hope to ever find work and stopped applying for employment.


In this series of articles the fundamental changes that must occur in the South African labour market to address the unemployment pandemic will be discussed.

The introduction of flexible employment contracts and making part-time work more accessible in the South-African labour market may be the key to address the unemployment menace. Since 2000, South Africa’s temporary or part-time workforce has grown by 11.9% per annum, compared to an average annual decline of 1.5% in the permanent or full-time workforce.

Normally population growth is an indication that more skilled workers will be available in the labour market. Why is this not the situation in South Africa?

There is a myriad of reasons why workers drop out of the labour-market

  • Family responsibilities may be a reason that a person decides to leave the formal employment market,
  • People study longer or decide to go back to school. There is a tendency that students if they can afford it, prolong their study period due to their inability to find position,
  • Young workers without experience become easily discouraged because experience is a prerequisite for permanent employment.

Freelance or part-time work is a excellent way to enter or return to the labour market. 


10 advantages of freelance work:

  1. First and foremost advantage of freelance jobs are that you are your own Boss,
  2. Flexible timings is another advantage of freelance work. This will suit a parent that dropped out the labour market for family reason well,
  3. In most freelance jobs you can decide how much you want to earn or how much money to make depending on the time you dedicate to the particular work or works,
  4. Expenses associated with the regular desk jobs are not there in freelance or work at home jobs. You can save on electric bills, travelling time and other expenses involved when going out. Wherever you are an Internet or phone can connect you to your work. There is also no need to dress up for work like the desk job. One can even sit on pyjamas and do a work at home assignment,
  5. Choice of work is another advantage of freelancing works. Here you can choose to do things you love,
  6. Like desk jobs you do not have to bother 

    about the bond with the Company or working yournotice period in a freelance job when you want to leave a less paid work or a job which does not give you any job satisfaction or sense of accomplishment.

  7. Global perspective is another advantage of freelance jobs. You can take up assignments from around the World,
  8. There is no restriction in the number of freelance assignments you can take up at the same time,
  9. The pressure and stress levels in freelance work is comparatively lesser than normal work,
  10. Most Companies also pays you for referring others to the company. Source


 Andre Beukes

Andre Beukes LLM

Andre Beukes LLM

André Beukes is an EU Management Consultant to international companies doing business in Europe. He provides clients with practical business support that makes a real difference doing business in the EU. “Put simply, I am here to help you meet your challenges. I believe in the importance of doing things correctly, meaning risks are reduced and problems are avoided.”

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