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Determinants of job search strategies: Evidence from the Khayelitsha/Mitchell's Plain Survey

Publication Abstract

Schoer, V., and Murray Leibbrandt. 2006. "Determinants of job search strategies: Evidence from the Khayelitsha/Mitchell's Plain Survey." South African Journal of Economics, 74(4): 702-724.

The search behaviour of the unemployed is an under-explored but important aspect of the unemployment puzzle in South Africa. The conventional conceptualisation of search rests on a simple dichotomy between active searching versus non-searching. This is a particularly blunt lens for investigating and understanding searchers who use social networks as the basis for their search strategy as such search does not qualify as active searching. Using data from metropolitan Cape Town this paper shows that such a search strategy is an important component of overall job-seeking behaviour for large percentages of searchers. A simple search model is presented to clarify the benefits and costs associated with different strategies and descriptive and multivariate analyses of the data are undertaken in order to highlight key factors influencing the choice of strategies. Findings illustrate the usefulness of the simple model by showing that the chosen search strategy is a compromise between the most effective way of finding a job and what is actually feasible for an individual. Being a female lowers the probability of active search compared to network search. A number of household characteristics are also important. Domestic duties hinder more active search while local embeddeness is key to the effectiveness of and the use of social network search.

DOI:10.1111/j.1813-6982.2006.00099.x (Full Text)

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