Human Resources Management. A critical Analysis of Zimbabwe’s unemployment crisis from 1990 to 2012

Essay, 2013

11 Pages, Grade: A


Table of Contents



Causes of Unemployment in Zimbabwe
Poor economic planning
Political environment, regulations and stature
Controversial Land Reforms
Other Factors

Solutions to Zimbabwe’s High Unemployment
Expanding the Economy
Economic Policies
Skills & Entrepreneurship
On Job Training & Apprenticeship
Regularization of the Informal Sector
Curb Corruption
Empower Small Holder Farmers
Political Will




Zimbabwe like most African countries faces a devastating and recurring problem of unemployment.[1] This phenomenon is common amongst the youth that make up more than 60% of the population worldwide[2]. This is a great challenge for all political parties as they use it to try and lure would be voters. In 1990, the official unemployment rates stood at 12%[3] and in 2012, they stood at 7.7%[4]. There has been a discord between the official rates and the studies done by private institutions. The private rates for the two comparative years stand at 50%[5] and 85% respectively[6]. It would be worth noting however that there are several rates for all these years depending on what the motive is for the research. Many of these figures contradict each other in many ways. In 2006, the ILO deduced through a study that the unemployment rate was 95% and 70% amongst the youth. The tendency has always been to follow the private rates as these tended to be for accurate and informative. The government is conservative in their rates as they try to create a positive image in the eyes of the electorate.[7] This paper will critically look at the fluctuations in the numbers of the years, the reasons for such high rates and why they fluctuated and the possible recourse available to the central government and other stakeholders.

It is imperative however to understand at this point that the author of this paper did not embark on a study but merely reviewed the available secondary data. Unemployment has ripple effects in any economy and Zimbabwe is no exception. The socio economic dimension is deep rooted and all-consuming to the detriment of the ordinary Zimbabwean.


Worldwide, youth are 43.7% of the total unemployed people[8]. In sub-Saharan Africa, about 60% of the unemployed are youth[9]. In Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Poverty Assessment study (1995) revealing that the youth has the highest unemployment rate among all the age groups in the labour force in Zimbabwe. A study showed that out of the country's 12 million people, only 480,000 were formally employed in 2008, down from 3.6 million employed in 2003[10]. Formal sector unemployment stood at 94 per cent of which 67.7 per cent constituted the youth[11]. The rate of youth unemployment with regard to both formal and informal sectors of the Zimbabwe economy stood at 19 per cent for females, 11 per cent for males[12]. It was during the more than two decades of political and economic crisis that plagued Zimbabwe since early 90s that youth unemployment peaked. The unstable economic environment during this period led to the proliferation of the informal sector and parallel (black) market which absorbed most young people as agents and dealers. With the signing of the Global Political Agreement, the economy stabilized and these activities came to a sudden halt, worsening the situation of the youth. Against this backdrop, the Government of National Unity took reducing unemployment to be one of the key imperative.

Article 3.1a of the GPA states that;

“The parties shall be committed to working together on a full and comprehensive economic programme to resuscitate the economy which will urgently address the issues of unemployment”[13]

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Zimbabwe’s formally employed was at 3, 6 million in 2003, which was really mostly made up of civil servants. OCHA says that at the pinnacle of economic meltdown, only 6% of the population was employed in 2008[14]


[1] Zimbabwe Youth Council Executive Director’s Speech For The Youth Unemployment Workshop: 29 March 2012:1

[2] Ibid

[3] Erica Keogh: 1

[4] Sunday Mail 16 June 2013


[6] Sunday Mail 16 June 2013

[7] Ibid

[8] ILO: 2010

[9] Ibid

[10] The United Nations Office of the Coordination Humanitarian Affairs [UNOCHA): 2008


[12] Chakanya: 2008

[13] GPA 2008

[14] Dailynews Edition of 16 April 2011

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Human Resources Management. A critical Analysis of Zimbabwe’s unemployment crisis from 1990 to 2012
( Atlantic International University )
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Temba Munsaka (Author), 2013, Human Resources Management. A critical Analysis of Zimbabwe’s unemployment crisis from 1990 to 2012, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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