Sociopolitical occurrences in recent years have, if anything, brought to the fore the close relationship between developments in the labour market and progress on the socio-econo-political terrain. The ideological divides in South Africa are especially apparent in the labour market, and these compound the basic conflict between the objectives of protecting basic worker rights on the one hand, and increasing economic growth on the other. The South African labour market contains an abundance of information about labour markets in general and the South African labour market in particular.
The South African labour market has a down-to-earth and practical approach. It considers the evidence and identifies some urgent discussion points about the sensitivity of employment to economic growth. Four appendix chapters deal extensively with globalisation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, labour market outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic period, consensus-seeking institutions such as Nedlac, as well as detailed labour market statistics from 1995–2021. Questions and study suggestions are included at the end of each chapter.
Contents include the following:
- Unique characteristics of the labour market
- Labour supply and labour demand
- Employment in the formal and informal sectors
- Wages and the cost of labour
- Unions, collective bargaining and minimum wages
- Productivity and labour market flexibility
- Unemployment and active labour market policy for job creation
- Human capital and the demand for skilled workers
- Inequalities and discrimination
The South African labour market is aimed at economics students as well as general readers wanting an overview of the South African labour market.
The late Dr Frans Barker was a senior executive at the Chamber of Mines. During his career, he was also vice-president of the Economic Society of South Africa and president of the Industrial Relations Association of South Africa. He served on governing structures of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), was a commissioner for the Commission for Employment Equity and was also involved in Nedlac in various roles. Dr Barker lectured at a number of universities and was the author of several publications related to labour issues.
Derek Yu is a Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of the Western Cape. He has a decade of teaching experience in undergraduate and postgraduate Labour Economics, and has published comprehensively in this area. He is also the author of the first and second editions of Basic mathematics for economics students: theory and applications.
Pietman Roos has more than a decade’s experience in different civil society organisations including national government, news media and organised business. He has worked on economic policy formulation, commentary, negotiation and advocacy, and has lectured undergraduate economics and jurisprudence.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 The supply of labour
Chapter 3 The demand for labour
Chapter 4 Wages and the cost of labour
Chapter 5 Unions, collective bargaining and minimum wages
Chapter 6 Productivity and labour market flexibility
Chapter 7 Unemployment in South Africa
Chapter 8 Human capital and the demand for skilled workers
Chapter 9 Labour market inequalities and discrimination
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