Big increase in South Africans leaving the country with sought-after skills

 ·5 Jul 2019

Reports from emigration assistance groups and local banks show that South Africa has seen a sharp rise in the number of skilled people emigrating.

According to Marisa Jacobs, director at immigration specialists Xpatweb, many of these South Africans are leaving for the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia with highly sought after skills.

She said that the company’s recently released annual Critical Skills Survey highlights the top critical skills that employers struggle to recruit within local borders and that have striking similarities between the jobs that are in demand in popular emigration destinations.

Jacobs said that the latest Critical Skills Survey surveyed 110 companies, including JSE-listed firms and large multinational groups operating in Africa.

“Following last year’s survey, ICT specialists and engineers remain the most difficult to recruit, followed by artisans, senior financial executives, professionals in the health sector, executive managers, specialists & academics, mining executives, risk managers, and foreign language speakers.”

Jacobs said that the most notable jump in figures are the number of South African companies struggling to recruit artisans – increasing by 45% from last year – and professionals in the health sector, which rose by as much as 200%.

South Africa notoriously doesn’t keep record of the number of South Africans who permanently leave the country, but other countries keep track of immigrants.

“Our survey results show that there is a very clear link between the skills that are needed locally and the professions that other countries are recruiting for, again confirming that skills shortages are a global challenge and South Africa is competing for these skills. Skills transfer to local teams and concession planning remains a key element for companies to develop their teams,” said Jacobs.

Read: The most popular countries for South Africans to teach English as a foreign language – and how much you can earn

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