The workplace is not biased against black people, IRR tells critics
However, the Institute of Race Relations says the rising participation rate in the labour market means the extent of job growth is too low to cut the unemployment rate
The number of black people with jobs has more than doubled since 1994‚ highlighting the racially transformative nature of the country’s labour market.
The Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR’s) transformation audit notes that racial transformation of the South African workplace has been significant and continues to improve.
It was noted in the report that data from Statistics SA showed that close to 5-million black people had a job in 1994 and this increased to 11.5-million in 2016.
The institute said critics who claimed there was jobless growth and that the labour market was biased against black people were wrong in terms of these facts. However, according to the institute, the unemployment rate has remained unchanged since 1994, despite the extent of job growth.
It said the rising participation rate in the labour market meant the extent of job growth had remained insufficient to reduce the unemployment rate.
While the number of black African people increased 32.1% since 2001‚ the number employed as managers increased 176.3%.
"Our sense is that the extent of racial transformation in the economy is informed by the performance of the education system," the IRR’s chief operating officer‚ Gwen Ngwenya‚ said.
"If transformation is said to be ‘held back’‚ that would be primarily because of failures in education and not a lack of will.
She said that while black South Africans accounted for 80.7% of the population‚ they constituted only 51.4% of all people with a post-matric qualification.
The education levels of black South Africans presented a "transformation ceiling".
"Putting in place targets beyond the available pool of skills places an unrealisable goal for employers and will strangle SA’s economic growth rate‚" Ngwenya said.