Over 40,000 graduates unemployed

Selebi Phikwe district labour office.FILE PIC
Selebi Phikwe district labour office.FILE PIC

With continuous enrolment in higher education annually, Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Anna Mokgethi has disclosed that 40,036 graduates are currently unemployed.

Responding to a parliamentary question, Mokgethi specified that the unemployed graduate population is predominantly comprised of those who graduated in the Arts stream.

"These include artisan, technical, vocational, and even diploma and degree levels," Mokgethi noted.

She responded to a query from Member of Parliament (MP) for Serowe South, Leepetswe Lesedi, who sought details on the number of unemployed graduates in Botswana and the factors contributing to unemployment, amongst other inquiries. Lesedi also inquired about the overall unemployment rate in Botswana.


Regarding the country's unemployment rate, Mokgethi stated that it has been on a consistent rise from 28.8% in 2019 to 32.4% in 2020. Despite increasing to 34.4% in 2021, it slightly decreased to 33.5% in 2022. However, for 2023, Mokgethi revealed a decrease in the unemployment rate.

"The total national rate of unemployment currently stands at 25.9% as of the first quarter of 2023," she said.

Mokgethi identified causes of high unemployment, including low productivity leading to slow economic growth, sluggish economic diversification, skills mismatch, and the small size of the private sector.

Additionally, she mentioned that thousands of people lost their jobs during those years. Between October 2019 and October 2023, 1,310 employees lost their jobs due to retrenchments.

"It must be noted that the statistics provided only reflect the redundancy information submitted to the commissioner of labour by companies that have completed the retrenchment process," Mokgethi added.

In addressing this growing challenge, Mokgethi emphasised that the COVID-19 era has underscored the urgent need for a comprehensive, adequate, and sustainable social protection system to provide support not only to employees but also to employers in times of need.

She also highlighted various factors affecting the availability of employment opportunities, contributing to the high number of unemployed individuals.

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