From Workplace to Joblessness: The Determinants of Post-Internship Graduate Unemployment in South Africa


  • Zethembe Mseleku Faculty of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 238 Mazisi Kunene Rd, Glenwood, Durban, 4041, South Africa



Education, Employment, Graduate, Graduate unemployment, Internship


One of the pressing concerns for governments and policy makers across the world is youth unemployment. What is even more devastating is the growing graduate unemployment, particularly in developing countries, and South Africa is no exception. Graduate unemployment in South Africa continues to increase at an alarming rate. Without drastic interventions, this socio-economic problem may sadly double in size in the next decade. Work experience programmes, such as internships, are increasingly supported to address youth unemployment, particularly among graduates. However, the effectiveness of the current interventions to the unemployment problem are questionable. This paper draws from the perspectives of 50 participants to explore the determinants of post-internship graduate unemployment. In particular, this paper adopts the lenses of mismatch theory of unemployment to explain why young people are vulnerable in the labour market irrespective of their education and work experience. The examined perspectives revealed that, beyond limited labour market demand, there is also an increasing “work experience-job mismatch” leading to post-internship graduate unemployment. Due to the number of factors, including the skills mismatch problem, the transition from higher education to full-time employment is difficult for many graduates.


Received: 30 November 2021 / Accepted: 11 February 2022 / Published: 5 March 2022


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Research Articles

How to Cite

From Workplace to Joblessness: The Determinants of Post-Internship Graduate Unemployment in South Africa. (2022). Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 11(2), 330.