Plugging the Gap: Improving Labor Market Navigation of South African Youth Through Networks and Information

Social networks are an important source of information about the labour market, but in South Africa they are deeply unequal in the quality of information they provide due to network assortativity – the clustering of labour market participants into groups with similar levels and types of professional experience. We conduct a pilot study of an intervention designed to expand and/or strengthen the social and professional networks of youth participating in a large scale 12-month work experience program. The program is run by the Youth Employment Service (YES), in partnership with South African government and industry. Our full study aims to create exogenous variation in network composition by experimentally enhancing the program with a training element that bolsters the professional networking activities of treated participants. This allows us to explore the impact of alleviating network constraints on learning and performance in the workplace and on post-program search behaviors and employment outcomes.

South Africa
  • Pilot project