A YOUTH situational analysis report carried out from 2018 to 2019 and commissioned by the Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) has revealed that millions of educated youth in Zimbabwe are unable to find jobs.


The study sampled around 5 582 young people aged 18 to 24 in the country’s 10 provinces and findings revealed that only 7% of them were formally employed.

Young males were said to be 9% formally employed compared to their female counterparts at 5, 2%.

“The proportion of urban youths who were formally employed was 10%, while rural youths formally employed was 5%. This number is lower compared to data from sub-Saharan Africa,” the report said.

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Compared to research done by the World Bank, their 2019 figure shows that 8,13% of young people aged 15 to 24 are formally employed.

Data from round six of the Afrobarometer also put unemployment levels for people below 35 years across Sub-Saharan Africa at 63%.

“For Zimbabwe alone, the unemployment estimate is 66%. The number is also significantly lower than official estimates by Zimstats, which puts unemployment at just 11,3% (2014 Labour Force Study).

In their report, YETT said youths from large cities such as Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare attributed lack of employment to the fact that formal employers had either scaled down or completely ceased operations as the country continues to experience economic challenges.

The study also shows that more than 51% of the 7% employed youths were engaged as general hands, with 25% employed in the public sector, followed by the food and beverages sector at 12,6%, mining 6,1%, transport at 5,1% and non-governmental organisations at 2,9%.

Very few of those employed youths were said to be engaged in professions for which they trained to do at college.

“Nine percent of youths reported running a business. This number is rather low compared to Sub-Saharan Africa at large. The 2016 Afrobarometer states that 42% of the employed youth below the age of 35 reported to be self-employed. For Zimbabwe, the estimate is 23%, which is still significantly higher than our own estimates. Sixteen percent (16%) of urban youths reported running a business compared to 5% among rural youths.”

Of the youths running their own businesses, Harare was said to have the highest proportion at 16%, followed by Bulawayo (14%), and Mashonaland Central had the smallest proportion with 4,3% and Matabeleland South at 5%.

“Businesses run by the youth made an average monthly profit of US$40. The greatest profitability was found in the manufacturing sector with US$74 per month, followed by services at US$53 per month and agriculture at US$41 per month, with the retail sector at the least with profitability of only US$25 per month. Only 9% of respondents running businesses reported receiving funding from financial institutions for business support.”

The report said 40% of participating youths cited lack of capital or funding as a barrier to their economic participation, while 14% cited currency instability and 8% cited lack of information as a barrier.

A 2012 report by the International Labour Organisation stated that the causes of unemployment among Zimbabwean youth included incompatibility between the curriculum and the needs of the industry in the changing times.