• Matt Kloos, CFO of CompariSure

SA's COVID-19 related employment challenges and fears of retrenchment

What’s in the headlines?

With the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) recently revealing that the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to over 370 000 job losses across the country, leading FinTech company, CompariSure, surveyed South Africans from all walks of life on their current employment challenges and fears of retrenchment.

What does South Africa have to say?

CompariSure’s data revealed that 68% of respondents feared retrenchment in the current environment and only 38% believe that “life will go back to normal” post-pandemic.

In addition, when asked about the current state of their employer (including those self-employed), 48% indicated that their employer “was in trouble”, with only 19% indicating that business “was busier than ever”. “The majority of respondents also believe that the national lockdown will be further extended post 30 April, which will potentially add to this sentiment,” says Matt Kloos, CFO of CompariSure.

Furthermore, 66% of respondents revealed that they were financially unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic (with only 18% indicating that they were in fact prepared). “The ability to work from home (WFH) has now become critical to sustaining an income for many South Africans fortunate enough to have this option, enabling them to continue to be productive and, ultimately, employable.”

When asked about the option to WFH, only 21% of respondents indicated that they actually had the ability to do so. “Though this is a low figure when compared to other more established markets, it is indicative of the challenges we face locally, such as online mobility and data costs, as well as the types of industries that still dominate our market mix. For example, informal trading and domestic work make up a significant percentage of employment in our country,” explains Kloos.

Of the sample that could WFH, the ability to deliver quality work was evenly split: 41% indicated that they “are struggling to get work done as per usual” while 39% indicated they “are more productive than ever”. "This could be due to multiple factors - a big challenge currently being experienced by parents that have children at home is having to juggle home-schooling with their day job – an extremely unique and stressful challenge in the ‘new normal’.”

Looking on the Brightside…

“Beyond continually implementing measures to ensure the health and safety of all South Africans by our Government, there is a potential ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in the recently announced plan by President Ramaphosa to inject R500 billion into a social and economic support package. This should, in the interim, distribute much-needed funding to those suffering a loss of income due to COVID-19.

“This announcement, coupled with recent interest rate cuts and potential tax relief measures, should result in more disposable income becoming available to South Africans - critical to ‘jump starting’ our economy,” concludes Kloos.


About the conversations and data:

Utilising its in-house Chatbot technology, CompariSure has had automated conversations with thousands of South Africans on Facebook Messenger. Respondents are relatively young on average, with 77% being between the ages of 25 and 45. Response rates to each question varied.

About CompariSure: