Annual Forum Papers

Employment, Wages & Skills Development: Firm-Specific Effects Evidence from Two Firm Surveys in South Africa

  • Year: 2001
  • Organisation: University of Cape Town
  • Author(s): Haroon Bhorat;Paul Lundall

Studies on the South African labour market have almost exclusively focused on the factors determining and shaping the current and future supply of labour in the country. This has, in the main, been driven by the availability of national data sets that have been limited essentially to household surveys produced by Statistics South Africa.

This has of course resulted in an extremely rich flow of useful and interesting results on the determinants of participation, employment and earnings in the South African labour market. However, the more integrated model of the labour market, would of course also need to examine the contribution of intra- and inter-firm dynamics in shaping the domestic labour market.

Until the very recent release of two firm surveys for the country, scant else was available to undertake such research. The purpose of this paper therefore is firstly to expose the reader to the labour market information embedded in the two surveys. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, we will attempt to concentrate on those labour market issues that shed more light on firm-level skills development, skills acquisition and labour demand factors that are dictated by human capital attributes.

In essence, the paper will try and assess the contribution of firm-specific effects in shaping employment and earnings, together with providing a more coherent grasp of firms' activities and perceptions in relation to the recruitment, development and shortage of skilled personnel in their respective organisations.