Job Hunting - What’s The Cost? - [website] Email Print
Published: 26th of Jun 2017 by: Carolyn Kessler

I heard an interview on the radio last week where they were identifying the difficulties inherent in job hunting. One of the issues they raised was how much this exercise costs. A recent study undertaken by UCT says it costs on average, R550-00 per month to actively seek employment in South Africa.

Having worked in the recruitment and training industry for most of my career, I have come to appreciate the challenges experienced by those seeking employment. This, however, is the first time I’ve heard the financial aspect quantified and it made me sit up in my seat - that’s a lot of money to many people, expended without any guarantee of success.

In a country where most people are living month to month, many of whom rely on grants or pensions as a sole source of income, the cost of job seeking can be prohibitive.

Everyone involved in the recruitment process needs to be aware of the stresses related to being unemployed in an employer’s market and adapt processes wherever possible. Any suggestions?

Having said this, I have read a number of posts on LinkedIn where consultants report giving candidates money to cover travel costs. In one post, the recruitment agency had clubbed together to buy a suitable outfit for the applicant. I was blown away. This truly is Ubuntu at its best. It’s simply not sustainable though.

Let’s explore some of the costs inherent in job hunting:

1. The candidate needs to have a CV which is both comprehensive and professional. For many of us, this is easily done. But consider those who haven’t had the benefit of work experience, don’t have access to mentors or people who can assist in compiling this vital document. In addition to this, many fellow South Africans don’t have access to computers and/or Wifi. They have to pay to use computers at internet cafes.

2. Access to the internet is essential in order to find out what positions are available: an ongoing cost.

3. In order to get to the internet cafes, they incur travel costs there and back.

4. Once the CV is compiled, it has to be printed off because many companies want original copies: paper and printing – a further cost.

5. Travelling around to drop off original CV’s – extremely costly and time consuming.

6. Attending the initial interview is often just one step in the process. Usually there are second or third interviews: more travel costs and time.

7. Those who are only contactable by cell phone need to ensure they have minutes and data on their phones in order to make and receive calls/messages.

8. For students in particular, they have to buy suitable outfits so as to project the right image.

9. If the job seeker is working as a temp somewhere, they don’t get paid when they’re off and can even lose their temp positions – a sole source of income.

10. English is the language of business. We know that. Now consider for a moment how difficult it is to compile a readable document, cover letter and handle an interview in your second or third language. Many people are forced to pay consultancies to do this for them.

These are just a few of the hurdles faced by people to whom R550-00 a month could mean the difference between having food on the table and going hungry. All these combine to render job seeking a formidable exercise.

Staff Training is a soft skills training provider. Contact us at 0861 996 660.

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