10 jobs that offer the most work-from-home options in South Africa right now

 ·25 Apr 2022

A new CareerJunction analysis of job trends shows that remote-working opportunities have climbed significantly in South Africa over the last 12 months. The group recorded a 160% increase in these opportunities from March 2021. Over a longer period – since March 2020 – there are approximately 22 times more remote working opportunities in the market, the group said.

However, this trend may soon begin to reverse as the working world moves back to ‘normal’ and as businesses demand that their employees return to work. Even so, the recruitment company said it is unlikely that the workplace will reach pre-pandemic levels of office time any time soon.

“In the coming months, there may be a drop in remote work opportunities as a result of the recent lifting of the National State of Disaster,” CareerJunction said.

“However, the fact that many businesses have already invested in remote working technology to attract top talent and reduce overhead office costs means remote work is unlikely to disappear from the employment landscape any time soon.”

The top roles with the most remote work opportunities include:

  1. Software development;
  2. Data analysis/Data warehousing;
  3. Systems/Network administration;
  4. Business analysis;
  5. Middle/Department management;
  6. Internal auditing;
  7. Representative/Sales consulting;
  8. Personal assistant;
  9. External auditing;
  10. Staff recruitment/selection.

Offices standing empty

Property data from FNB shows that many South African offices are standing empty, despite the government lifting almost all lockdown restrictions and calls for a return to work.

The bank said that plans for new office development have also nosedived since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and are yet to see the same recovery as other sectors.

The low level of planned new office space development, despite some recent growth, is not surprising, with the national office vacancy rate at a high 18.2% in 2021, according to MSCI. However, the FNB Property Broker Survey recently did hint at the start of some decline in vacancy rates, said FNB property sector strategist John Loos.

Employment numbers in the office-bound economic sectors declined during lockdowns in 2020 and have not recovered significantly. More remote work levels than pre-lockdown days are a reality, and more efficient use of office space through the “hoteling” of desk space is a crucial factor, too, he said.

“Office plans passed declined by 58.96% year-on-year in February 2022 off a very low base a year prior. But we don’t place much emphasis on this, because this small sector’s monthly moves are highly volatile. More insightful is that for the 12 months to February 2022, square meterage of office space plans passed grew positively year-on-year by 35.85% off the low base of the 2020 lockdown year.”

While seemingly impressive, this positive growth does not nearly compensate for the earlier weakening during the lockdown period, remaining 39.0% down in the 12 months to February 2020, just before lockdowns, and 62.5% down in the 12 months to February 2018, Loos said.

“Given the key structural changes in office work, including a shift to greater remote work and the hoteling of office space, the office segment is likely to be an area of long-term building activity underperformance, with its share of total building activity likely to decline further in the longer term.”

Read: South African companies are looking at ‘flexi-work’ and other incentives as they face a great resignation

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