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Developing a Multidimensional Youth Employability Index to unpack vulnerabilities in the lived realities of youth in Post-apartheid South Africa.

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Employability, understood as the ability to gain, sustain, and move on in employment, depends on and shapes circumstances in a young person’s lifeworld. In a Post‐apartheid South Africa individual attributes as well as vulnerabilities in the young person’s home and neighbourhood all impact on labour outcomes. We develop a multidimensional youth employability index to capture this complexity following the Alkire and Foster method. We use the Census 2011 data. The results show that various forms of networks in the youth’s household and neighbourhood make a stronger contribution to their employability than do the individual’s attributes such as education, despite the latter’s prominence in the employability literature. There is a strong geographical component to employability and results are highly differentiated across municipalities. It matters greatly whether youth are in formal or informal work, have become discouraged or are unemployed and looking for a job when it comes to being employability deprived. However, large proportions of employed youth are employability deprived and lived realities at the lower end of the labour market are very similar with or without a job. Our results therefore demonstrate the usefulness of an expanded view on youth employability as it is able to unpack hardships that remains masked when using “employment” as a single indicator for youth’s socio‐economic inclusion into the labour market.
Number of pages: 27
Publication year:2019