Together, let’s fight the statistics!

The Q1 Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa last week, noted that South Africa’s unemployment rate has increased to 25.2% in the last quarter. The report showed that the number of people without jobs climbed by 237,000 to 5 million which is mainly due to a slump in employment in informal industries.
 
According to Wikus Olivier, a debt counsellor at DebtSafe, there are steps you can take today to not only prevent unemployment in the future, but also to improve the job you currently have.
 
An article on the causes of unemployment in South Africa states that one of the main challenges facing the South African employer is the lack of employees who are qualified for the work that they offer. Skills-shortages are a major issue, not to mention the lack of basic education.
 
“To avoid being unemployable because of your skills or lack thereof, make a point of staying up-to-date with what’s happening in your field and look for ways in which you can better yourself. Taking short courses online or doing workshops can give you the edge over another prospective candidate. It doesn’t even have to be directly related to the job you are doing. Employers like it when people know what they are talking about in their field, but also put great value on people who seem flexible and are willing to broaden their horizons.”
 
“Developing a passion for a new skill can open doors for you and lead you down a new path. If the field you are currently in begins to suffer employment losses, you have something to fall back on. When you go for your next job interview, you might have more choices or have more to talk about and show that you are a well-rounded and versatile person.”
 
“It is important to note that employees who make an effort to connect with those around them are more likely to enjoy their jobs and building connections with your colleagues and boss can serve you well in the future. If things don’t work out at a particular job, you can ask your colleague friends that moved on to other workplaces to put in a good word for you. You might even find that one of them starts their own company and hires you.”
 
“Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that no job is better than working for a low income. Being proud is a natural defence and perhaps necessary to keep us from being exploited, but gaps in someone’s employment history doesn’t look good.”
 
“If you find yourself having to start at the bottom again, remember you can learn new skills while working your way up, making yourself more attractive as an employee as a result. It also helps you stay on your feet, even if you are just making ends meet for a while. When people aren’t employed, they suffer financially and some slip so far that their living conditions and appearance makes them almost unemployable.”
 
“Should you be in a situation where you have recently lost your job, the first thing you should do is evaluate your finances and create a survival budget. Add any other sources of income, such as unemployment benefits, severance pay and any part-time employment you can acquire to the budget so you have enough money to cover your expenses.”
 
“In the current economy it is however important to plan ahead for lean times and have some savings put aside for these situations. Ideally you should have enough money saved to tide you over for at least three months.”
 
“If you find you are battling to make your payments, prioritize your debt and pay the minimum payments necessary. If you find that this is not possible, be open with your creditors and seek advice to assist in managing your debt over this period,” concludes Olivier.

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