Youth sets sights on business sector - CNBC Africa

Youth sets sights on business sector

Southern Africa

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Young South Africans are looking to the business sector for leadership opportunities. PHOTO: Getty Images

“We need to really create a culture in our continent where our youngsters’ aspirations for their future career should not really be politics. I see my country actually following exactly the same path, but I think we need to really find a way to arrest this. It’s extremely dangerous to live in a country where people are under the impression that politics is the way to go,” Herman Mashaba, chairman of the Free market Foundation, told CNBC Africa.

Mashaba added that while political leadership is essential for businesses to survive and thrive, young South Africans should not see it as the only means of success, as it can accommodate only a few individuals. The business sector, on the other hand, has an even wider door of accommodation.

(READ MORE: Dialogue needed to enhance S.Africa's business community)

According to Johann Redelinghuys, partner at Heidrich and Struggles, the quality of leadership within the business sector is significantly better.

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“Role models are growing up in the business community and I think it’s much more appealing to young people these days. They see bigger financial rewards, and there’s bigger prestige. I don’t think government anymore has the kudos that it has to attract young people,” said Redelinghuys.

(READ MORE: Tackling S.Africa's business process is a top priority)

While South Africa’s unemployment rate accelerated to 25.2 per cent in the first quarter of the year, the transition from young people wanting to enter business as opposed to politics could have a significant impact on the rate of employment.

“The type of organisation we are, we’re already dealing with either young people that are going to do well at university and are in the early phases of development, or we’re talking to young people that are coming out of university [and] into our world either as clients or as potential employees,” Stephen Koseff, CEO of Investec, explained.

“Some want to be social entrepreneurs that help people, particularly if they come from more well-off families. They tend to want to try and do well and help society at large, but many want to actually build and create.”

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