Women entrepreneurs committed to job creation
Job creation is a key motivation for women entrepreneurs in South Africa, with 90% of them saying it was a ‘very important’ (74%) or ‘important’ (16%) consideration when they started their businesses, according to the South African Women Survey of Entrepreneurs’ Job Creators.
Dedication to job creation was consistent across type and size of business and age of respondents. About three-quarters said that creating a job for themselves was a “very important” consideration in starting their business.
The survey was conducted by Lionesses of Africa, a network of over 1.3 million women entrepreneurs across Africa, in collaboration with New York University, and supported by Absa.
Survey data was collected online from 913 women entrepreneurs in South Africa between November 23 last year and April 28 this year. He was informed by 150 other qualitative interviews of women entrepreneurs during the same period. Participants were recruited through the Lioness of Africa network to represent a range of business types, sizes and sectors.
The survey provided an opportunity for women entrepreneurs in South Africa to share their experiences in job creation and how Covid-19 has affected this and income generation. Interviewees also shared their post-Covid-19 perspectives for their businesses and their experiences accessing government assistance programs and external funding during the pandemic.
The survey provides valuable information on individual entrepreneurs who create jobs for themselves and entrepreneurs with employees. Employer entrepreneurs had an average of 29 employees. The “typical” or median entrepreneur employed five employees, while the top 1% had 1,000 or more employees.
Most companies with employees hired their first employee early in the life of their business, with 67% doing so within the first year. This indicates that women entrepreneurs not only created jobs, but did so from the early stages of their business lifecycle.
Regarding future hiring plans, among entrepreneurs who employ staff, more than a third considered their current staffing levels insufficient for their needs and 41 percent were actively recruiting. Of those who were hiring, 73% said they were hiring to meet demand, 12% to bring additional skills into the business, and 12% said they were hiring or re-hiring to replace employees who had left or had been made redundant. .
Lionesses of Africa founder Melanie Hawken said what was encouraging about the survey results was that women entrepreneurs had real self-confidence in their ability to create jobs, and that remained there. ‘one of the main drivers of their motivation to create sustainable businesses.
“Women entrepreneurs have job creation in their DNA. Another remarkable finding from the report is how these women fought to protect jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. More than two-thirds cut their own wages or stop paying themselves altogether in order to take care of their staff first. Women entrepreneurs are committed to creating and keeping jobs, ”said Hawken.
Bongiwe Gangeni, deputy managing director of Absa Retail and Business Bank, said the survey highlighted the important role women entrepreneurs play in creating jobs and supporting the economy.
“Absa is proud to partner with Lionesses of Africa and play its role in helping women entrepreneurs realize their full potential by meeting their needs holistically through our wide range of innovative products and services and development programs. corporate, ”Gangeni said.
The survey also found that women-owned businesses with a digital presence have shown greater resilience during Covid-19. Those who made the most of their sales through an app or online marketplace were less likely to be affected by Covid-19 and had more optimistic projections about their future income.
Expectations for future hires also varied considerably between companies that made most of their sales digitally versus those that did not. When asked about their expectations for jobs over the next 12 months, 35% of companies that make the majority of their sales through an app or online marketplace responded that they expected a large increase in the number of jobs. jobs, compared with just 22% of companies who were not to embrace digital sales.
Young people were still struggling to find work, according to the Quarterly Labor Force Survey for the first quarter of this year. The official unemployment rate was 32.6%, but it was 46.3% among people aged 15 to 34, implying that almost one in two young people did not have a job in their first year. trimester.
About a quarter (24.4%) of young people were employed and 45.3% of them participated in the labor market. Among young people, those aged 15 to 24 had an unemployment rate of over 63 percent, an absorption rate of around 7.6 percent, and a labor force participation rate of 20.6 percent. hundred. The burden of unemployment was also concentrated among young people, as they accounted for 59.5% of the total number of unemployed.