An equal slice for everyone: Pizza Hut Partners with YES

Pizza Hut partners with YES

Creating youth employment opportunities and levelling gender inequality!

An Equal Slice for Everyone: ‘LeadHERship’

Youth unemployment in South Africa is in crisis, with three out of four young people between the ages of 15 and 24 unemployed (Quarterly Labour Force Survey Q3:2021, expanded definition). According to Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey for Q3:2021, black women bear the brunt of this unemployment crisis; over 40% of black women are unemployed.

The Youth Employment Service (YES), a not-for-profit joint initiative between business, government and labour, aims to help address this youth unemployment crisis in South Africa. Since being founded three years ago, YES and its partners have created more than 70,075 work experiences with no state funding. In the process, the youth have collectively earned more than R4 billion, which benefits extended families and entire communities.

In partnership with YES, Pizza Hut has launched the ‘LeadHERship’ initiative, a woman-centred programme targeted at unlocking opportunities for job placement for vulnerable youth aged 18-24 in marginalised communities.

The ‘LeadHERship’ initiative is a local adaptation in South Africa that ladders up to Pizza Hut International’s social purpose framework; An Equal Slice for Everyone. The iconic brand is committed to equity, opportunity, and unity, taking a locally led yet globally connected approach, with a clear focus on its people, customers, and communities.

The ‘LeadHERship’ initiative will create assignment opportunities for over 100 unemployed young South African women within non-profit organisations in the digital, educational, health, and financial sectors throughout South Africa in 2022.

Employability is essential to YES and Pizza Hut’s shared purpose, and this initiative aims to identify and drive both employability and placement opportunities for these pre-selected female youth, who will undergo 12-months of structured work experience to gain “on-the-job” skills that will help support better career opportunities. A CV and a reference letter gained on the 12-month programme, makes a jobseeker three times more likely to get a call within three months of their job search (Abel, Martin, Burger, &  Piraino, 2020). For women, a reference letter doubles their chances of landing a job (Abel et al., 2020).

“We believe that this employability initiative will start to shift the way youth contribute to the workplace by establishing a programme that unlocks equal opportunity for young women, thereby giving them a greater chance of being employed. This programme will help empower young women in marginalised communities by creating strategies for their employability and personal development,” says Ewan Davenport, Managing Director Pizza Hut Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Pakistan.

“South Africa’s challenge is breaking down the deep-rooted structural and socio-economic barriers preventing women from having an equitable role in the working world. The Pizza Hut ‘LeadHERship’ initiative ensures that women are not only invited to the conversation, but have the potential to lead it,” says Leanne Emery, Chief Marketing and Client Officer at YES.

What is even more pertinent, is how much further a YES salary goes; as Emery notes, “88% of YES Youth come from grant recipient households, and 91% have dependents, meaning that the work that corporate clients, YES, and implementation partners do together, goes far beyond the individual youth and impacts families and communities. We cannot underestimate the immense power of collaboration.”

The young women in the programme will be allocated across various YES implementation partners (IPs) through the LeadHERship initiative:

Youth Health for Africa is a youth-focused organisation and an affiliate of the Aurum Institute. 31 young YES women will work in clinics, hospitals, and communities to champion sustainable impact and address key social determinants of health.

YCC (Youth Content Collective) helps turn young, black creatives into micropreneurs. The programme helps photographers, videographers, and illustrators monetise their talents while delivering on the business community’s need for fresh, authentic creative assets. #CreativePotentialRealOpportunity

Click Learning, which deploys online English literacy programmes in underprivileged primary schools across South Africa, will coordinate 31 of the pre-selected young women, who will help facilitate these literacy programmes in school computer labs.

And finally, Youth@Work, which facilitates the creation of jobs within local schools and communities, will place 31 female youth at its facility to strengthen these environments and evolve the youth’s understanding of alternative job spaces within social and community contexts.


About YES

The Youth Employment Service (YES) is a pioneering, business-driven initiative, which has partnered with government and labour to tackle South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis and drive youth employability. YES aims to create work experiences for youth at scale by enabling a business to co-creator a future that works. In this process, a business can gain one or two levels upon its B-BBEE scorecard.

YES has already proven itself to be one of the true innovators in South Africa, generating over R4 billion in youth salaries and more than 70,000+ quality work experiences in under three years, all with no government funding. The not-for-profit organisation has had over 1,800 corporate sign-ups since its inception. Find out more at Say YES. It’s a win-win-win for company, country and youth!

About Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM) has more restaurant locations globally than any pizza company. The Africa business launched its first unit in Honeydew, Johannesburg, South Africa, in September 2014. Today with over 115 stores across 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and 4 Countries in Northern Africa. This milestone has come just over seven years since pizza hut entered Sub-Saharan Africa. visit for more information.