Occupational mobility among blacks in South Africa

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This study seeks to examine the extent, pattern, implications and determinants of occupational mobility among Blacks in South Africa and the economic context in response to which such mobility is occurring. Analysis is concentrated on the period 1960 to 1981 with particular emphasis on the 1970's. It is indicated that during this period notable changes occurred in the division of labour which was characterised by the rapid entry of blacks into 'petty bourgeois' and skilled manual occupations. This process took place in the context of rapid economic growth and particularly of rapid industrialisation. Emphasis is placed on an analysis of the determinants of occupational mobility among blacks in two cities in South Africa. The influence of socio-economic background and education are identified as being of primary importance as determinants of mobility. Particular attention is paid to an investigation of the effects that the legal status of black workers in urban areas has on the variables identified as notable determinants of occupational mobility, and directly on mobility itself. The emergent pattern of mobility and the determinants thereof are compared to the findings of studies in several other countries which provide the yardstick against which the domestic results can be measured. Finally, projections are made of the demand for and supply of labour till 1990. The implications of these projections, particularly for the educational system and skilled labour shortages are analysed.

Bibliography: leaf 200-205.