The best and worst time to look for a job in South Africa

Finding a job in South Africa in a time of recession and amid the threat of further credit downgrades is a challenge, and that’s before even having to even fight off the competition.

Online jobs portal Adzuna points out that leaving and changing jobs will always be a constant in the workforce since new opportunities are continuously being created.

“Companies replace employees that have left and they staff up for new projects, sometimes they might also need to hire extra staff to add needed skills to a certain department.”

Yet given the state of unemployment in South Africa, it begs the question: are jobs perpetually out there?

According to Azuna, the answer is yes – however, it noted a caveat: there are certain periods of the year that are much hotter when it comes to hiring than others, with one of those periods is fast approaching.

In terms of advertised vacancies, Adzuna found that December was one of the months where recruiters are least active with advertising jobs. Most companies tend to wind down their activity over the festive season.

“But here’s some good news: there are also a lot less active job seekers applying for jobs over the festive season. This could mean that instead of browsing thousands of job listings every day, you could just set up job alerts, have them delivered to you via email, and then enjoy your holiday season like the rest of the South African population.

As January’s New Year sets in, many job seekers try to live up to their resolutions and find their dream job. Despite the idea that new jobs open up in the New Year, there was a general decline in advertised vacancies during the month of January, dropping some 2% compared to the amount jobs posted in December 2016, the jobs specialist said.

Adzuna suggested that job searches are perhaps better saved for February, when the recruitment cycle has started picking up again after the festive season.

“Depending on what type of job you’re looking at landing, the timing for your application could be the difference between make and break,” it said.

“As graduates finish off their degrees by the end of September annually, the number of advertised graduate jobs tends to rise rapidly. This means that, although there are more jobs on offer for graduates at during the final quarter of the year, there is also a lot more competition.

“By starting your jobs search well in advance – before actually finishing up your studies – you could well be getting one foot in the door and stand a much better chance of landing your dream job,” Adzuna said.

For public sector jobs, however, these vacancies tend to decline towards the end of the financial year as budgets are signed off for close of business years.

Job seekers looking at securing new accountant jobs can benefit from this time of the year since it marks a spike in the industry’s overall vacancies, Adzuna said.

“If teaching is your passion, you may well be able to land your dream job by applying at the start of the academic year. The number of advertised vacancies for teaching jobs tends to rise after the festive season, but you could also find a great position by applying for a teaching job during the second quarter of the year.”

The above summaries provide a brief outline on the importance of timing when applying for a job.

When it comes to job posts on Adzuna’s site, January to March are the highest months, with December the lowest. “There is a drop after March which recovers from September to November,” it said.

“Ensure that you understand your industry’s annual cycle since this is critical if you want to ensure you’re applying for the right job at the perfect time,” Adzuna stressed.

The group added that it’s never a bad time to look for a job. “Go ahead and set up email alerts for your ideal jobs and apply for them as they come in.”


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