News & events


An understanding of public attitudes to work: A missing link

15 July 2016
12:30 - 13:30

Date:  15 July 2016 

Time: 12:30  – 13:30

   VCRs, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban


Bongiwe Mncwango (Education and Skills Development Research Programme, HSRC)

Skills planning discourses typically assume a passive public, with minimal agency within prevailing structures and systems, and tend to mechanistically try to match supply and demand. However, it is the outcomes of personal decisions that influence the success of interventions aimed to correct labour market imbalances and mismatches. This is reflected in the complex patterns of behaviour of labour market participants as manifested in multi-layered struggles in the world of work. The country’s working age population struggles to obtain paid employment, with rising proportions of discouraged work seekers giving up hope of finding work.

Among the employed, there is an intensifying struggle for fair working conditions and remuneration in the workplace.
Thus, there is an urgent demand for critical research that contributes to more effective and nuanced development strategies. One gap is the need to gain a deeper understanding of what South Africans perceive as barriers to employment, as well as their job expectations and lived experiences, in order to formulate tailored employment and skills-development interventions. This presentation contributes by mapping the public’s work-related values, attitudes and aspirations, using data gathered through the South African Social Attitudes Survey 2013. Privileging the connection between labour market behaviours and work attitudes, the presentation will discuss the perceptions of those in employment and those without jobs.
The study provides evidence that attitudes and work experiences vary significantly, and continue to be inequitably influenced by an individual’s race, education and social class, requiring tailored strategies.

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

Kindly RSVP by 14 July 2016

Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004,  Fax (021) 461 0299, or or Estelle Krishnan or Tel: 021 4668070

Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail;

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: