Experiences of Unemployment

Project Team

Prof. Hans De Witte, Prof. Ian Rothmann, Prof. Anja Van Den Broeck, Melinda du Toit, Leoni van der Vaart, and Rachele Paver


Unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing South Africa. It hinders the achievement of South Africa’s two key strategic objectives: eliminating poverty and reducing inequality. Unemployment has detrimental consequences. At the macro-level, the inactivity of many workers reduces the potential for economic growth. At the meso-level, low income households are heavily burdened, as the unemployed have to support many dependants. At the micro level, unemployed individuals suffer from being unemployed. The burden of unemployment is unequally distributed: unemployment is more common in the black population, and among the young.

The overall aim of this project is to advance the knowledge on the experience of unemployment in South Africa. From a developmental perspective, we aim assisting existing community organisations to develop and unroll an evidence based intervention through which one can alleviate unemployed individuals’ burden and foster their adaptive orientation towards the labour market and/via enhanced well-being. As such, the aim is not only to empower the unemployed, but also to encourage all parties involved, e.g. aid workers and community organizations. To sustainably support evidence based interventions, the second development goal of this project is to enhance research capacity and stimulate scholars to conduct research in general and on unemployment in particular.