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Occupational shifts and shortages: Skills challenges facing the South African economy

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research report



This report extends the analysis of labour demand trends to the 2001–2012 period. It consists of a
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descriptive analysis of skill-biased labour demand changes, through an examination of sectoral and
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occupational employment growth trends. We also consider, through the use of the Katz and Murphy
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(1992) decomposition technique, whether betweenor within-sector forces play a greater role in the labour demand for workers in different occupations. The report analyses the changing returns to occupational tasks. Following Firpo et al. (2011) we first identify five ‘task categories’, which are created to explore the way that different tasks are likely to be affected by technological change and international trade or competition. Having created the task categories, we then explore, through the use of quantile regressions, how the returns to occupational tasks have changed across the wage distribution over time. We expect to see a fall in wages for jobs involving tasks that are easily routinable and hence face high risks of automation and international competition.

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