South Africa must drastically increase the numbers of Occupations in High Demand (OIHD) so it can participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), says Higher Education and Training minister Naledi Pandor.
Speaking at the official opening of the National Skills Conference on Thursday (14 March), Pandor said that there are currently 11 universities in the country offering programmes and modules in 4IR and related fields of artificial intelligence and robotics.
Occupations in High Demand are defined as jobs that show relatively strong employment growth and/or are experiencing shortages in the labour market, or which are expected to be in demand in future.
“If we intend to take full advantage of 4IR, all our universities and colleges should be offering such courses,” Pandor said.
She added that as part of its responsibility to identify skills needs in South Africa, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has developed a list of OIHD for a wide range of reasons, mostly to support enrolment planning at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, as well as macro-planning at national level.
The list of approximately 370 occupations is aimed at helping young people to make informed decisions regarding their subject choices in grade 10, which they can use to make informed choices regarding fields of study for further and higher education.
The list also assists the National Skills Fund (NSF), Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and other organisations that provide bursaries and scholarships to allocate resources directed to occupations that are in high demand.
The 2018 list of OIHD identified white-collar occupations in information and communications technology, including:
- ICT project manager;
- Data Management manager;
- Application Development manager;
- Information Technology manager;
- Information Systems director;
- ICT systems analyst;
- Software developer;
- ICT risk specialist;
- Programmer analyst;
- Developer programmer;
- Applications programmer.
The list also identified blue-collar occupations requiring an intermediate level of skills as being in demand such as:
- Sheet metal worker.
South Africa has been rocked this week by the news that a number of its major banks plan to cut thousands of jobs.
On Thursday (14 March), Standard Bank announced that it plans to cut around 1,200 jobs and close 91 branches as part of efforts to digitise its retail and business bank.
The bank said that the vast majority of these branches will be closed by June 2019.
“As part of the implementation of the new banking delivery model, some of the roles currently being performed in our branches will change,” it said.
“A decision has also been taken to close 91 branches, with the vast majority of these closing by June 2019. These changes will impact approximately 1,200 jobs.
This follows a similar announcement made by Absa last week in which the bank said that it plans to cut 827 jobs as part of a restructuring process.