Our current labour force situation

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As you might be aware, Namibia now updates its labour force statistics on an annual basis. The 2014 Labour Force Survey was conducted with the objective of generating timely collection and release of key socio-economic indicators for assessment of the labour market conditions in Namibia.

The survey covered all aspects of people’s work, including the education and training needed to equip them for work, the jobs themselves, job search of those out of work, and income and benefits from work.

The annual labour force survey was conducted in October 2014. The fieldwork was carried out in a two-week time period with funding from the national budget of the Government of the Republic of Namibia. The survey collected data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 years and above who lived in Namibia on the reference night of September 28, 2014. Interviewing of households started on September 29 and ended on October 15, 2014. Information was collected from 40 202 individuals by the end of the survey.

According to our statistics, a population of 1 433 270 (63.8 percent) was considered 15 years and above of which 990 998 (69.3 percent) is categorised as economically active. Out of the total labour force, we found that 712 752 people (71.9 percent) are employed. Of these, 343 076 (48.1 percent) are female and 369 676 (51.9 percent) are male; hence employed men outnumbered women. This is particularly clear in urban areas where employment opportunities are more available than in rural areas.

The educational background of 78 percent of our employed people consists of primary, and junior and senior secondary education. Of the total employed population, 11.3 percent have no formal education at all. Only 9.2 percent of those employed have certificates/diplomas, degrees, teacher’s training and postgraduate qualifications. Most of the employed population is between the ages of 20 to 44, which make up 67.5 percent of the total employed population. Majority of them are employees (467 473) and 245 279 belong to other categories in terms of employment status.

At national level, the average wage is N$6 626 per month. It is higher for males (N$6 965) than females (N$6 164). Across industries the highest average wage is N$21 749 per month, which is associated with the mining and quarrying sector, while the lowest is N$1 168 per month which is associated with the private household sector.

Among the labour force, 278 245 people (28.1 percent) are considered unemployed. The majority, 31.7 percent are female and 24.3 percent are males. The unemployment rate is much higher in rural (30.2 percent) than in urban areas (26.2 percent) and highest in the Ohangwena (38.2 percent) and Kavango East regions (36.3 percent), respectively. From an educational perspective, unemployment is mostly found among people with junior secondary and primary education.

There are about 826 874 youth aged 15 to 34 in Namibia. Of these, 319 215 are employed while 205 470 are unemployed. This means that the labour force in these age groups totals 524 685. Males outnumber females among the employed youth population and females outnumber males among the unemployed.

The overall youth unemployment rate is 39.2 percent, a decrease of 2.5 percent compared to the rate as reported in 2013. About 24.1 percent of the youth are not in employment, education or training. This number dropped significantly from 33.8 percent in 2013 to 24.1 percent. The number peaks at age 24 and it is very low among those under 18 years, where most of them will still be in school. The percentage is also lower at the upper end of the broad youth age group, as by this time more youth have found jobs.

*Iipumbu Sakaria is the Deputy Director for Strategic Communications at the NSA

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