Decent work in the South African macroeconomy: Who are the winners and losers?

Type Journal Article - Humanistic Management Journal
Title Decent work in the South African macroeconomy: Who are the winners and losers?
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2022
Concerns related to the future of work has precipitated various studies aimed at ensuring that the labour market is a place where people can earn a living, work in dignity, and flourish as human beings. Studies on labour market inequalities and how macroeconomic policies can be used to address such inequalities are also plentiful. What macroeconomic studies have often failed to do, however, is highlight the differences between individuals in the labour market. This is important, especially in an economy with large inequalities, such as South Africa. These inequalities are further entrenched given that wage employment is the primary mode of income generation for the majority of households in South Africa. The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in quality of work at the microeconomic level in relation to changes in the macroeconomy, using a decent work index built from secondary labour force survey data. The data show that changes in the macroeconomic policy environment coincide with differential outcomes for different groups of workers in the labour market, with women benefitting in terms of quality of work during times in which the government undertakes an expansionary fiscal approach, although only in occupation groups which are male-dominated. The study also finds, however, that in some occupation groups, quality of work does not change in relation to shifts in the macroeconomy. The study highlights the need for microeconomic analyses to inform macroeconomic policies to ensure that expected outcomes are distributed in the intended way.

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