Top five reasons young people can’t get a job - here’s how they can fix it

Young people should not allow the challenges they are facing to stop them from getting a job because there are solutions the issues that they are facing. Picture: Freepik

Young people should not allow the challenges they are facing to stop them from getting a job because there are solutions the issues that they are facing. Picture: Freepik

Published May 22, 2024


For young people navigating the current South African job market can be disheartening as they find that job opportunities are less as more people are on the hunt for a job.

There are number of reasons that young people cannot break through the current job market, however, they should not lose hope because there are solutions to the challenges that they are facing.

Refiloe Molosi, a recruitment consultant at REDi Holbourne Group shares the top five reasons young people cannot land a job as well as solutions to issues that they are facing.

Lack of experience

According to Molosi, many entry-level positions still require some level of experience and young people often struggle to gain this experience without first having a job or doing any work experience or internship.

Molosi advises young people to seek internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs related to your field to build experience, confidence, and industry knowledge.

“This sets you apart from other candidates and gets you noticed. Plus, you go into your interview with practical examples of what you did and how equipped you are for the position,” Molosi said.

Mismatch between skills and job requirements

Molosi said that there can be a gap between the skills young people have and what employers are looking for.

“From my candidate and client experience, we see people just applying for a role and not paying attention to details, such as if they have the basic qualifications or experience that is required,” Molosi said.

Molosi advises young people to continuously update your skills through online courses, certifications, and workshops to stay relevant in your industry and know exactly what is expected of you to do a job.

Read the criteria specified before applying, know the role and responsibilities, and research the company to see if it's a good fit for you.

Restricted working opportunities

Networking is crucial for job hunting, but young people often lack professional connections.

Molosi advises young people to attend industry events, join professional organisations, and use social media platforms like LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your field and set job alerts across different recruitment sites.

“Apply for roles directly with companies, align your experience, skills, and passion so you set yourself up for success and get an interview,” Molosi said.

Economic slump and the current job market saturation

According to Molosi, the current economic conditions can lead to fewer job openings and increased competition.

Molosi advises young people to be flexible with job location and roles. They should also consider temporary or contract positions to get your foot in the door, as these can lead to a permanent role if you prove your worth and are an an exceptional team player.

“Strive to always stand out, give your best track your progress of self-improvement, and work towards promotions,” Molosi said.

Improve your CV

Ineffective and badly written CVs, weak cover letters, and poor job search techniques can hinder job-hunting efforts.

Molosi advises young people to tailor their CV and cover letter for each specific job application to the different roles and companies they are applying for.

Take your time to ensure your CV and letter is neat, and complete, and have no spelling mistakes or missing dates or information. Research CV and cover letter templates if you need help and ask a friend or mentor for help.

Molosi said that CV is your first line of opportunity, so ensure it is professional and reaches the correct person on time if applying for a certain role.

IOL Business