Black middle classes shy to employ domestics

The emerging black middle class is suspected of being “less inclined” to employ domestic workers.

This is the bottom line that can be taken out of the latest annual survey of the South African Institute of Race Relations. That is; if you cut to the chase.

In a statement released yesterday the institute said its survey found that the number of domestic workers in South Africa has declined over the past ten years. The number of domestic workers declined from 1 215 000 in 2003 to 1 153 000 in 2012, or by 5%.

The Institute’s researcher, Georgina Alexander, “The inference is that South Africa’s middle classes are less inclined to employ domestic workers than was the case in past decades”.

Alexander said the decline was significant given that South Africa’s middle classes had increased substantially over the same period. For example, Living Standard Measures data shows that the number of people in the highest living standard category had increased from 1.5 million to 2.1 million or by 37% over the same period. Average household incomes have also risen in nominal terms by 113% over the last decade.

Alexander said “The reasons for this are unknown and have to be left to speculation. However, stricter labour law and minimum wage regulations, security concerns, smaller homes and properties, racial and cultural shifts in the social attitudes of the new middle class, increasing administered prices such as electricity, rates, and fuel bills, and increased household debt levels may all have contributed to the phenomenon.”

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