Original Research

Increasing unemployment rate amongst health professionals: Will there be jobs for newly graduated South African audiologists post-COVID-19?

Vera-Genevey Hlayisi
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 69, No 2 | a909 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v69i2.909 | © 2022 Vera-Genevey Hlayisi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2022 | Published: 01 August 2022

About the author(s)

Vera-Genevey Hlayisi, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


Background: Before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in early 2020, the unemployment rate in South Africa was at its highest in history at 29.1%. During the COVID-19 pandemic to date, unemployment rose even higher to 35.3%. In this context, there has been an increase in the number of unemployed health professionals in South Africa.

Objectives: This study aimed to determine the employment rates of newly graduated South African audiologists and identify the challenges in obtaining and maintaining employment for audiologists in South Africa.

Methods: A descriptive online survey design was used. Participants were recruited online through professional association webpages using the snowball sampling technique. All qualified audiologists registered with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa were eligible to participate.

Results: A total of 132 audiologists completed the survey. In the first-year postgraduation, 16% of the participants were unemployed, and this increased to 19% in the second-year postgraduation. In the majority (81%) of employed participants, almost a fifth (19%) were working within non-audiology/healthcare fields. The most common workplace challenges reported were remuneration (37%) followed by lack of resources (18%), workload (18%), work environment (10%), working hours (9%) and, lastly, interprofessional relationships (8%).

Conclusion: Findings from this study are the first to document employment rates amongst South African audiologists. These findings have the potential to influence the critical discourse on hearing healthcare human resource planning, hearing healthcare labour capacity and potential for growth in the South African context post-COVID-19.


employment; unemployment; human-resources; healthcare; audiology


Total abstract views: 1138
Total article views: 1027


Crossref Citations

1. The impact of COVID-19 on speech–language and hearing professions in low- and middle-income countries: Challenges and opportunities explored
Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Nomfundo Moroe, Joanne Neille, Anita Edwards
South African Journal of Communication Disorders  vol: 69  issue: 2  year: 2022  
doi: 10.4102/sajcd.v69i2.937