According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey by Statistics South Africa, in the third quarter of 2013, 34.8% of young South Africans could not find a job compared with less than 15% of adults over 34.
If one breaks down the youth unemployment figures by race, the picture becomes more gloomy for African and coloured youth. In 2010, African youth unemployment hit 58%, coloured youth unemployment 45% while Indian and white youth unemployment were at 22% and 18% respectively. However, these figures do not correctly reflect the seriousness of the youth unemployment problem because it excludes young people that have not been looking for employment.
How about a post-matric/graduate year doing some combination of the following (not just one, how about all):
– Spend twenty hours a week running a project for a non-profit;
– Teach yourself Java, HTML, and SQL. Not a little, but mastery. [Clarification: I know you can’t become a master programmer of all these in a year. I used the word mastery to distinguish it from ‘familiarity’ which is what you get from one of those Dummies type books. I would hope you could write code that solves problems, works and is reasonably clear, not that you can program well enough to work for Google or Microsoft. Sorry if I ruffled feathers.];
– Volunteer to coach or assistant coach a kids sports team;
– Start, run and grow an online community;
– Give a speech a week to local organisations;
– Write a regular newsletter or blog about an industry you care about;
– Learn another local or African language fluently (Swahili, Shona etc);
– Write three detailed business plans for projects in the industry you care about;
– Self-publish a book; and
– Run a marathon.
Beats law school.
If you wake up every morning at 6am, give up TV and treat this list like a job, you will have no trouble accomplishing everything on it. Everything. When you do, what happens to your entrepreneurship prospects?