Kemoreile Jimson, a 31-year-old former journalist who was retrenched from work in 2016 now works as a security guard. He is not doing some undercover investigation to expose the constant abuse of security guards and the risks they face. To him, this is his last option at survival.
After getting retrenched, any efforts of finding permanent employment proved difficult for the father of one, his only rescue at times were temporary gigs he was often offered.
“I would get something once in a while but nothing permanent,” he said.
But with bills to pay; which in his case meant paying rent, taking care of his infant son and family, buying groceries and servicing his bank loan, the ugly face of unemployment was showing him flames and he needed a way out
And unfortunately for Jimson, armed completely with an honours degree in Journalism complete with over five years’ experience, this is now his reality.
“After applying for numerous job posts that I believed I qualified for and hitting a snag I had to face reality,” he said.
The former scribe now works as a security guard for one of the local security companies. He earns less than a quarter of what his previous job gave him but he has vowed that if that is what he has to do to settle his bills then he will.
“I know that those who take things for granted may think that maybe I am not trying harder but the reality is, there just are no enough jobs for all of us, and government has to do something about it,” he pleaded.
Jimson’s story is not unique to him but a legion of other young Batswana too. The 2015/16 Botswana Multi Topic Household Survey (BMTHS) conducted by Statistics Botswana state that about 25 present of a total estimated population of the youth aged 15-35 years – 747,635 which constitutes (36.1%) of the total (2,073,675) estimated population are unemployed.
Some 46.9% (350,537) of the youth are males while 53.1 % (397,098) are females.
The BMTHS is the most up to date statistics that provide comprehensive set of household and individual level indicators for poverty and labour market. The latest report covers data collected between November 2015 to October 2016.
According to the survey, a total of 427 089 were in the labour force and out of this 319, 830 (74.9%) were employed while 107 259 (25.1%) as earlier stated were unemployed.
This basically means that youth unemployment stands at 25.1%, with females being the hardest hit at 26.8% compared to their male counterparts who were slightly lower at 23.5%. The BMTHS results also indicate that the 18-19 and 20-24 age groups are the most affected groups (48.1 and 37.3 percent respectively).
The results also show that youth who completed junior school are the most unemployed; constituting 42.0% followed by senior secondary school leavers and University/ College with 28.1 and 13.1 percent of the total respectively.
Total unemployment when looked at by regions indicates that youths in urban villages constitute the most unemployed with 51.4%, followed by youths in rural areas with 27.2%. Cities and Towns constituted the least (21.4%).
Out of the 689,582 of the currently employed population, 46.4 percent (319,830) were those aged 15 – 35 years. Majority of the employed youth are working in elementary occupations (28.5 percent), followed by those services & sale workers category (25.4 percent).
Looking at the employed youth by Education, the results show that youth who completed Junior secondary, senior secondary and university/college education constituted majority of youth employment (36.8 percent, 23.8 percent and 21.5 percent respectively).
Another interesting aspect revealed by the survey is that of Youth from Poor Households (Poor Youth). The results of the Survey show that out of the estimated 747,635 total youth (15-35 years), 112,783 (15.1%) were from poor households. Males constituted 43.0 percent of the poor youth while 57.0 percent were females.
And poverty appears to be more prevalent among the age groups 20-24 and 25-29 with (27.8%, and 23.6 %) respectively.
The survey‘s analysis by Strata indicates that 47.0 percent of the poor youth were in Rural Areas, followed by those in Urban Villages with 37.9 percent. Poor youth in Cities and Towns accounted for 15.1 percent of the total poor youth.
Out of the total 112,783 poor youth, 46.6 percent (52,528) were in the labour force (the employed and unemployed poor youth). Females constituted 52.4 percent whilst the remaining 47.6 percent were males.
Employed Youth from Poor Households
A total of 31,677 of the poor youth were employed. Most of the employed poor youth were engaged in elementary occupations, while unemployed poor youth accounted for 39.7 percent of the total poor youth labour force. Females accounted for 56.7 percent of the unemployed poor youth whilst their male counterparts accounted for 43.3 percent.