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Societal perceptions on jobs

2022-07-27  Staff Reporter

Societal perceptions on jobs

With a few people finding employment prospects and the retrenchments that have led to many seeing little chance of re-employment in the same discipline, young people regularly become informally self-employed. 

Conversely, formal jobs have been publicised as a lever to social and financial mobility, compared to informal jobs. 

Stereotypical presumptions regarding informal jobs match the current realities. 

What people do for a living often defines them. 

It is even one of the first questions people ask when they meet for the first time.  Traditionally, formal jobs represented a status symbol that parents have raised a child who earned a title in one of these industries. 

Many informal jobs have been treated as invisible. 

There have been many outdated ideas about what these jobs involve. 

This has resulted in young people not being willing to join this sector –even when they desperately needed work. 

Considering the reality of today’s record of unemployment and economic conditions, how does society restore pride in the sector that has somehow been neglected? 

How do parents mentor their children from the onset that there is dignity in labour? 

How can society change the thought process and view a graduate engaging in the informal sector as on the same level as a graduate who is in the formal industry? 

Changing the conversation about the importance and dignity of informal work not only to children but also to parents and educators will represent a profound cultural shift. 

These groups must address myths and stereotypes about traditional informal industries. 

We have to move away from seeing society as a hierarchy in which some jobs are always above or below others to viewing it on the same level in which all workers are superior or inferior to each other, but no one is entirely inferior to another. 

Anyone who adds a new perspective to a conversation improved the conversation. 

Communities must set up networking strategies with like-minded individuals in the same industry to break the trend. 

Apart from promoting careers in the informal sector, we also need to teach those seeking them that traditional values like showing up on time, working diligently and seizing opportunities when they arise are crucial.

Individuals who have chosen this line of work must not rely on societal stereotypes to judge their capacity. 

Everyone is in the same boat; the prestige of jobs only creates an illusion. 

If people assume things about people without leaving anything about them, then they are fundamentally basing their opinions on something as random as the colour of someone’s skin.

 * Saara Meke Amakali is an industrial psychology and sociology graduate. E-mail her at

2022-07-27  Staff Reporter

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