The 25 rarest job skills in South Africa right now

New data from online jobs portal, Adzuna, provides insight into the most sought-after skills by companies and their demand from job seekers in South Africa.

The company lists the skills that push both factors the most, which combine to reveal the ‘rarest’ skills in the country.

Adzuna looked at the listed job requirements in over 130,000 job listings, assessing the demand for a particular skill, versus job seekers looking for jobs in that specific field.

This is what the jobs site refers to as the “Rareness Factor” – where a factor of 2.0 effectively means there are twice as many vacancies for job seekers looking for those positions.

If a skill is in high demand but low in supply, this makes it rarer than skills which are low in both available candidates and low in demand.

Many of the job skills that were rarest in 2016 have remained at the top of the list in 2017 – particularly in the field of software development, where Java and php developers are in great demand, but with little supply.

Developer and other tech positions make up seven of the top 10 rarest job skills, with the other skill types found in the financial, management and consultancy fields.

The rarity of the skills listed by Adzuna also correlate to the average salaries paid out, with rare skills attracting some of the highest salaries.

However, this isn’t true across the board – for example, engineering jobs still have some of the highest salaries listed, but ‘only’ carry a rareness factor of five, the data showed.

“As expected, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills are still the most sought after and best paid in South Africa. And this is a global trend that is simply exacerbated in SA,” said Jesse Green, country manager for Adzuna South Africa.

The group’s data is fairly reflective of findings in the recently published South African Science, Technology and Innovation Report for 2016, which showed that the country was struggling to make progress in maths and science fields.

It also showed that the percentage of science, engineering and technology (SET) enrolments at South African higher education institutions has stagnated over the past few years.

“Youngsters looking for a bright future would do well to make the effort to spend time mastering maths and science subjects at school,” Green said.

The table below lists the 25 rarest skills in South Africa as of September 2017, as well as the average salaries listed for those positions.

Green indicates that the skill has become rarer since the research was done in 2016, while red indicates the skill’s rareness factor has dropped.

Job skill or title Demand from Companies Demand from Job Seekers Rareness Factor 2017 Average Salary
Java Developer 2 705 21 128.8 R513 875
Developer 16 952 255 66.5 R467 163
php Developer 1 801 28 64.3 R410 328
Web Developer 1 488 28 53.1 R395 896
Financial Accountant 1 139 22 51.8 R471 429
Software Developer 1 428 34 42.0 R457 254
Net Developer 890 34 26.2 R4467 43
Technologist 1 359 65 20.9 R497 127
Assistant Manager 1 077 67 16.1 R222 739
Consultant 6 837 444 15.4 R203 914
Analyst 3 947 302 13.1 R514 938
Recruiter 1 729 166 10.4 R235 143
Supervisor 1 784 490 3.6 R243 652
Executive 3 095 331 9.4 R259 672
Accountant 4 298 475 9.0 R394 962
Business Analyst 1 141 178 6.4 R540 582
Designer 2 351 403 5.8 R327 712
Coordinator 1 034 199 5.2 R226 125
Civil Engineer 1 248 242 5.2 R609 196
Engineer 10 130 1981 5.1 R580 372
Technician 2 845 607 4.7 R234 416
Manager 23 902 5 398 4.4 R448 366
Pharmacist 1 094 252 4.3 R549 247
Project Manager 1 578 367 4.3 R583 711
Salesperson 2 400 589 4.1 R208 118

Read: The most in-demand jobs in South Africa – and what they pay

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The 25 rarest job skills in South Africa right now