Work-from-home under pressure in South Africa- but these jobs are still holding out

 ·8 Apr 2024

Jobs in Information Technology (IT) are the primary beneficiary of remote work in South Africa;

March 2024 was the four-year anniversary of South Africa’s first Covid-19 lockdown.

With the restriction on movement, workplaces across the country shifted from office settings to remote work arrangements.

“This shift necessitated rapid adjustments in work routines and practices, as well as the adoption of new
technologies to facilitate remote operations,” said the online recruitment platform Pnet in its latest Job Market Trends Report.

“The pandemic underscored the importance of flexibility, resilience, and innovation in navigating unprecedented challenges within the workplace landscape.”

In 2024, remote and hybrid work is still prevalent, even if there has been a drop from the pandemic.

Pnet’s findings show that although most jobs don’t offer remote work options, there is still a consistent trend of remote job opportunities.

Before the first lockdown, there were very few remote work opportunities (1.2%).

Four years later, roughly 4% of all job opportunities in South Africa offer remote working opportunities.

Top sectors and jobs

Certain job sectors provide more remote work opportunities than others.

The IT sector had the most remote opportunities before the pandemic (2%), but this has since grown to around 11% of opportunities, remaining at the forefront in 2024.

Business & Management, Finance, Admin, Office & Support and Sales have also seen an increase in remote work opportunities, even if there are far less than the IT sector.

Source: Pnet
SectorFeb 2020Feb 2021Feb 2022Feb 2023Feb 2024
IT2%7%13%12%11%
Business and Management1%1%2%3%3%
Sales0%1%3%2%3%
Finance0%1%3%2%3%
Admin, Office & Support1%1%3%3%2%

The job role with the most remote work opportunities is Software Development, with 12% of all vacancies advertised as remote or hybrid work opportunities.

Systems/Network Administration (IT) and Middle/Department Management (Business and Management) came in second and third, respectively.

“It’s crucial to note that job roles with more remote work opportunities tend to be the same roles that are in high demand – with potentially severe difficulties for recruiters in terms of finding the right candidate for the job,” said Pnet.

“As a result, employers need to create more attractive and flexible work conditions to attract talent with the right skill set.”

Pnet said that the research shows that remote work has consistently appeared in the South African job market and will stay so for the foreseeable future.

“The IT sector remains the most prominent job sector in terms of remote work opportunities,” said Pnet.

“South Africa grapples with a significant challenge of scarce skills, where there is a noticeable gap between the skills demanded by the job market and those possessed by the workforce.

“Business and Management Factors contributing to this scarcity include inadequate education and training systems, brain drain as skilled professionals seek opportunities abroad, and mismatched skill sets due to rapid technological advancements.”

Pnet said that addressing this skills shortage requires a multifaceted approach, which includes retaining talent, ensuring that academia and industry align in skill development and enhancing education and vocational training.

“Offering remote work opportunities is a great way to provide more attractive and flexible working conditions and can come in useful when recruiting to secure scarce and high in-demand skills.”


Read: Massive boost for one of South Africa’s biggest employers

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