Rising concern over issues such as crime, healthcare and education are leading more graduate professionals in South Africa to consider emigrating, according to the latest results from the PPS Graduate Professionals Confidence Index.
The quarterly survey, which tracks the confidence levels of nearly 6000 of South Africa’s graduate professionals, revealed a six percent year-on-year decline in the number of professionals who are confident of remaining in South Africa for the foreseeable future to 78 percent from 84 percent a year ago. The figure was also down five percent on the previous three months.
According to Gerhard Joubert, Head of Group Marketing and Stakeholder Relations at PPS, while a confidence level of 78 percent is still very positive, it is concerning that this figure has declined.
"Graduate professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants are a crucial segment of the economy and like many other countries we already face a major skills shortage within these professions. It is crucial that the concerns of this segment are taken into account to ensure that we do not lose further scarce skills."
Confidence in the standard of education in South Africa improving over the next five years was also down two percent to 48 percent year-on-year, although it remains unchanged on the previous two quarters.
However, Joubert says even more alarming for graduate professionals is the lack of mathematics and science graduates in South Africa with 94 percent of respondents citing this as a concern.
"Many of our skills shortages are in professions that require a mathematics or science degree so it is critical that we address the reasons for fewer people opting to study these subjects, as fewer graduates in these fields now will lead us to an even greater skills shortage in the future."
Confidence that unemployment would improve over the next five years also fell four percent year-on-year to 42 percent. Joubert says the recent Labour Force Survey that showed South Africa lost 75 000 net jobs in the first three months of the year indicates that there is a good reason for such concern.
Confidence in the future of the healthcare system over the next five years fell five percent to 45 percent year-on-year. The deterioration in confidence is reflected by concern over the implementation of the National Health Insurance initiative with 84 percent of respondents saying it is not the solution to fix the country’s ailing health system.
Article continues on page two: professionals worry they're not saving enough for retirement and other results from the survey...