“Labour brokers created more jobs in SA than any other sector since 1995”

Temporary Employment Services (TES), disparagingly referred to as “labour brokers” by unions who want them banned, have created more jobs in South Africa than any other sector since 1995, says Professor Haroon Bhorat, Director of the Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) for UCT’s School of Economics.

"Labour brokers" created 14 percent of all new jobs since 1995

"The TES sector currently has about 970 000 employees and has created about 770 000 jobs since 1995," says Bhorat. "This represents about 14 percent of the 5.6-million jobs created in total across all sectors in the last 19 years.

“We initially thought this phenomenal growth was a response to South Africa’s labour environment and that it merely represented employers trying to find a way around legislation,” says Bhorat. “However, when you look at data from the labour force survey, we found that 55 percent of workers in the TES sector are permanent while the figure for those in formal employment stands at 60 percent.

Disjuncture between public discourse and what the data shows

“Temporary Employment Services is absolutely pivotal in the jobs market,” says Bhorat. “There is a disjuncture between the public discourse and what the data seems to show.”

The world is changing. Employment for life has given way to people working multiple careers at multiple firms over the course of their lives. “The TES sector can play a crucial role in contributing to the competitiveness of various industries within our economy,” says Bhorat.

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