State creates employment agency for jobs in both public and private sectors

The government has officially opened up its own employment agency to help jobless people find work. Called the Public Employment Service, the agency will have desks in labour department offices countrywide, which will enable jobseekers to apply for jobs in both the public and private sector.

Last month, President Jacob Zuma signed the Employment Services Act into law, in effect establishing the agencies that will allow young people, especially in rural areas, a shot at jobs they wouldn’t otherwise have been aware of. The new agency will now be formally constituted and governed by a board of directors. Nominations for the new agency’s board members have already been concluded and President Zuma is expected to appoint the nominees soon.

Martin Ratshivhanda of the Department of Labour said the state’s employment agencies would have career councillors on hand to guide and advise those looking for work. “As soon as they are registered, their details and qualifications will be captured on the system, and it automatically matches their profile with the profile of opportunities,” he indicated.

Laura Salt, labour law expert at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, commented that the new law had noble intentions, but warned against government “competing directly with the private sector agencies it regulates”. Companies, she said, would possibly be required to give first preference to candidates on the state’s database. In addition, employers would have to notify government within 14 days when they had a vacancy. But Ratshivhanda said the state in fact wanted to collaborate with the private sector instead of compete with it.

Monday, 21 September 2015 10:30