Monitoring the Performance of the South African Labour Market

"This factsheet has provided an overview of employment in the wholesale and retail trade industry. Despite being the industry with the most rapid rate of employment contraction between 2008Q1 and 2013Q1 with 331 000 jobs being shed, wholesale and retail trade still plays a significant role in the labour market, accounting for more than one-­fifth of total employment. There have been statistically significant changes in the demographic composition of wholesale and retail trade employment between 2008Q1 and 2013Q1. In particular, the declines in employment amongst Africans, females, 15 to 34 year olds, and those without secondary education are significant. Nevertheless, wholesale and retail workers are more likely to be Africans, females, aged below 35 years, and without any form of post-­secondary qualifications, than their counterparts in the broader non-­agricultural economy. The informal sector is particularly large in wholesale and retail trade, accounting for about one-­third of employment, nearly double the share in the non-­agricultural economy. If informality is defined in terms of the employment relationship, the proportion of workers informally employed is nearly 40 percent in wholesale and retail, but it is only about 24 percent in the non-‑agricultural economy. Although the share of wholesale and retail workers engaged in high skilled and skilled occupations increased between 2008Q1 and 2013Q1, these two shares remain lower when compared with non­‑agricultural workers."