These are the most in-demand job skills in South Africa right now

Despite South Africa’s depressing unemployment data, with more than 2.2 million jobs lost during lockdown alone, the latest CareerJunction Index serves to remind job seekers that there is still demand for skilled workers in the country.

The CareerJunction Index (CJI) represents online labour dynamics in South Africa by providing a detailed analysis of the relative ratio of supply and demand in the online job market.

In October, the CJI scored slightly higher than September at 94 points, but still placed under the job market balance of 100.

An index score below 100 indicates that there are fewer job opportunities and more job seekers, making it a highly competitive environment for those looking for work. However, the uptick does show that more work is becoming available, and recruiters are actively looking to fill positions.

“While job search activity increased by 15% compared to September, recruitment activity increased by 9%. Trending jobs in South Africa include client/customer support, business development and admin clerk,” CareerJunction said.

Top employment sectors were business & management, sales, ICT, marketing, cleaning, maintenance & repair and architecture & engineering, it said.

The most in-demand job skills echo the same trends seen over the past year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, with businesses seeking software development skills, management skills and sales consulting skills.

The IT sector has been showing continuous growth in recruitment activity over the last three months. Software development skills remain the most sought-after IT skills, CareerJunction noted.

Managerial skills are highly demanded in the local employment market. Particularly, finance managers are in high demand.

Hiring activity for sales staff has been growing continuously over the last four months. Demand for sales consulting skills increased by 35% since June 2020.


Trending jobs include:

Client / Customer Support

Average salary offerings for a skilled level position:

  • GP R16,013 to R20,845
  • WC R16,701 to R20,827
  • KZN R15,040 to R19,317

Business Development

Average salary offerings for a skilled level position:

  • GP R25,155 to R32,369
  • WC R19,478 to R23,250
  • KZN R18,143 to R23,048

Admin Clerk

Average salary offerings for a skilled level position:

  • GP R12,698 to R15,985
  • WC R11,425 to R14,123
  • KZN R8,995 to R11,200

Supply and demand

The IT, business & management and finance sectors are undoubtedly the most sought after sectors, followed by the sales, admin, office & support and architecture & engineering sectors, among others listed, CareerJunction said.

When looking at active job seekers across various sectors, areas of high supply correlate closely to areas of high demand, however supply outstrips demand in some areas, leading to a competitive environment for job seekers.

There has been a consistent uptake in hiring activity for professionals in the business & management, sales, ICT, marketing, cleaning, maintenance & repair and architecture & engineering sectors.

The ICT, sales and architecture & engineering sectors have been showing continuous growth in recruitment activity over the past three months.

However, a more volatile demand trend is evident for professionals in admin, office & support, manufacturing & assembly, warehousing & logistics and medical & health.

While most sectors show growth in hiring activity, demand for medical professionals is declining due to a lower rate of Covid-19 infections.


Unemployment crisis

The results of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) for the third quarter of 2020 published last week, shows that of the 2.85 million people who ‘left’ the country’s workforce during lockdown, only 543,000 managed to get their jobs back, leaving 2.2 million unemployed, and 225,000 joining the group of discouraged work seekers.

Unemployment increased substantially by 52.1% to 6.5 million, compared to the second quarter of 2020, making the country’s overall unemployment rate a record high at 30.8% – with the broader definition (which includes discouraged work seekers) at 43.1%.

Government has moved to temporarily alleviate some of the pressure caused by job losses by launching several initiatives to place 800,000 South Africans in jobs over the short term.

In an address to the nation on 21 April 2020, president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that R100 billion would be allocated for job protection and creation, as part of the emergency relief package in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus sets out to create and support 800,000 job opportunities, with R12.6 billion committed in the current financial year and an investment of R100 billion over the next three years to support the recovery of employment.

One of the initiatives set up by government is a digital platform for recruitment and matching of candidates, that has been developed through partnerships enabled by the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, which is available at www.sayouth.mobi.

This platform is being used by the Department of Basic Education to recruit 300,000 teachers and school assistants and will provide real-time data on applications and placements, as well as ongoing surveys of participants.


Read: Government’s plan to create 800,000 jobs in South Africa – where it’s hiring and how to apply

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These are the most in-demand job skills in South Africa right now