Youth sidelined by formal sector

Young people from the ages 15 to 34 years were employed mostly in the informal sector during 2012 and 2013. Over the two years, however, the youth unemployment rate rose from 39.2% to 43.4%, according to Youth Employment report released by the Namibia Statistics Agency this week.
The report shows that youth employment in the formal sector has decreased and that 53.2% of the employed youth worked in the informal sector in 2012. The following year the ratio increased to 58.2%.
Daniel Oherein, the statistics agency’s Deputy Director: Welfare and labour statistics, said the reason the informal sector continues to carry the bulk of employed youth is because the formal sector is not able to absorb the bulk of the young people many of whom lack skills and qualifications.
“Most people who could not find jobs or further education or training end up in the informal sector,” he said.
He said what is required for the youth is to improve their qualifications and skills and to elevate them to tertiary qualifications instead of just relying on school certificates.
Acting Statistician General, Sikongo Haihambo said the analysis highlights salient features of the labour market that the agency could not address in the main reports of 2012 and 2013.
Haihambo said the informal sector is best defined based on characteristics and composition, primarily the lack of social protection, low level of technology, high prevalence of micro enterprises, its domination by unskilled labour and its domination by women.
He said understanding the patterns, structure and causes of youth unemployment is essential for designing appropriate policy interventions.
“It is now up to the policy and decision makers to make concrete decisions that will need youth empowerment to make it achievable,” he added.
The agency’s next Labour Force Survey will be done in 2016.