The Oxford Handbook of the South African Economy

Type Book Section - Part IV The labour market, distribution, and social policy: Chapter 31 Changing dynamics in the South African labour market
Title The Oxford Handbook of the South African Economy
Edition 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2022
Page numbers 673-689
Publisher Oxford University Press
Country/State USA
In this chapter we draw on existing research, and our own analysis of household survey data, to examine three broad areas of labour market transition. First, we document a trend of de-industrialization and skills-biased change. This involves quantifying a relatively rapid shift in the structural composition of employment and output, where we observe an expansion of employment in skilled occupations, and growth that is concentrated almost exclusively in the tertiary sectors. Second, we analyse changing labour market returns and highlight a U-shaped pattern of wage growth driven by real gains at the top and, to a lesser extent, the bottom of the distribution, with negative wage growth for workers in the middle. Finally, a series of policy interventions that include progressive labour market regulation, the introduction of minimum wages, and several active labour market policies, have reshaped the regulatory structure of the labour market in important ways.

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