Jobs for Graduates – but where are the Black Graduates?

31/10: If you were a black South African student during apartheid, you had better odds of graduating than today. Sobering data from South Africa’s statistics agency show that while there may be more black students today than during apartheid, less are graduating now. Which means less are taking up Jobs for Graduates.

In 1975, 15% of black students successfully graduated, in 2016 that figure had dropped to 5%. There are undoubtedly more black students today than during apartheid, so 5% translates to a much higher number of students, but the data point highlights one of the hot button issues in South African higher education today—the lack of funding opportunities available to black students. Getting from first year to graduation remains hardest for black South Africans. Despite the increase in state grants for education, it still isn’t enough. This is according to an article in Quartz online magazine.

Graduate Jobs generally pay better, and offer good career prospects. Some degrees or professions are more in demand than others. In South Africa, accountants, lawyers, medical doctors and engineers are very much in demand. They are followed by holders of degrees including BCom (commerce), BSc (science) and BCompt (accounting science). According to a recent survey, the most sought-after skills are finance, accounting, management, law, and medicine.

CareerJunction’s data shows that most of the top-paying Graduate Jobs are in the engineering sector, where a senior civil and structural engineer earns an average salary of R70,300 a month (or just over R843,610) a year. Aside from engineers, other top-paying positions are commonly found in the finance and ICT sectors, as well as within the medical field, which was a new addition to the survey.

Other Jobs for Graduates are in the law sector. Experienced lawyers can earn up to R729,087 annually, with the highest paying skills associated with this job being commercial, contract negotiation, complex litigation case management, legal compliance, and corporate.

For those who don’t get Jobs for Graduates immediately after graduating, they can use this time productively by volunteering or getting an internship. Neither will pay a proper salary, but may provide some expenses reimbursed. Most importantly, one will gain experience, which is always good to list on a CV.

Find out more about Jobs for Graduates in South Africa