Original Research

The relative labour productivity contribution of different age-skill categories for a developing economy

Gerhardus van Zyl
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 11, No 1 | a472 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v11i1.472 | © 2013 Gerhardus van Zyl | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 April 2012 | Published: 31 January 2013

About the author(s)

Gerhardus van Zyl, Department of Economics and Econometrics, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: The article dealt with the estimation, computation and interpretation of the relative productivity contributions of different age-skill categories.

Research purpose: The aim of the article was to estimate and compute, (1) relative productivity contributions and (2) relative productivity contribution–employee remuneration cost levels for different age-skill categories.

Motivation for the study: The research was deemed necessary given the current debate on relative productivity levels and possible changes to the retirement age in the South African labour market. No real research in this regard has been published regarding the South African labour market situation.

Research design, approach and method: A less restrictive production function was used, allowing for the simultaneous estimation and final computation of relative labour contribution levels of different age-skill categories.

Main findings: The lower-skilled segment produced significantly smaller productivity contributions and the relative productivity contribution–employee remuneration cost ratios of the 55 years and older age group were superior in the higher-skilled segment but, at the same time, the lowest in the lower-skilled segment.

Practical/managerial implications: It is recommended that human resource practitioners (given the perceived rigidity of labour legislation) implement and maintain structures that promote higher productivity levels for all age-skill categories in the workplace.

Contribution/value-add: An estimation procedure, which can be applied to the measurement of the relative productivity contribution of different age-skill categories, has been established.


age-skill category; estimation; productivity contribution–employee remuneration cost ratio; productivity contribution ratio; production function


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