The most valuable skills you need to secure a job in South Africa right now

Amid increasing technological advancements, employers must identify future skills in order to provide a flexible and agile workplace, says Zuko Mdwaba, area vice president of Salesforce South Africa.

“Once a company identifies the necessary but unfilled talents, it may fill any present and future skill shortages. If it is determined that a certain individual or department lacks the necessary capabilities, an organisation can either implement coaching or training or acquire people who already have the necessary skills,” Mdwaba said.

Salesforce provided a list of hard and soft skills to ensure that the country’s workforce keeps up to date with the demands of future employment.

Most valuable soft skills

Though the skills necessary vary based on the company, department, or employee, several are universally valuable, including:

  • Creativity: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are automating many administrative processes, freeing up human employees to focus on creative problem-solving. As a result, creativity is a critical skill for future-proofing businesses.
  • Persuasion: Possessing a great product or idea is a start, but you still need clients to purchase it. Persuasion is a crucial technique for ensuring the marketability of your ideas and products.
  • Collaboration: Digital transformation is creating more complex and global projects, which makes collaboration an essential tool for success. Employees must be able to work in a collaborative environment with both in-person and remote team members.
  • Adaptability: Businesses are undergoing rapid technological transformation; therefore, flexible employees are important. You need teams that can adapt to and thrive in a fast changing business environment without sacrificing efficiency.
  • Time management: Time management is a tool that will remain relevant regardless of what the future holds. Employees that have mastered time management are important to the success of a business, both now and in the future.

Most valuable hard skills

As the workplace grows more connected and digitally advanced, your employees will require hard skills including:

  • Cloud computing: Cloud computing is becoming a mainstay in many companies, so more and more leaders are looking for engineers with skills in this area.
  • Artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence for business is growing and changing. Employees with skills in artificial intelligence are a vital asset to a business looking to make the transition or implemented more AI-enabled business tools.
  • AV production: Videos are dominating consumer internet traffic, and marketing leaders are in search of employees with skills in audio/visual production to elevate their marketing effort.
  • Sales leadership: Sales leadership is always an in-demand skill, regardless of how technology changes business in the future.
  • Translation: The shift toward a global, collaborative workplace requires teams from many different cultural and language backgrounds to work together. Having employees fluent in two or more languages helps to break down these barriers.
  • UX design: User experience is a valuable part of the overall customer experience and a key to building a loyal customer base. More and more businesses are searching for employees with a background in UX design to ensure they’re delivering the best experience possible.
  • Mobile application development: The shift to mobile-first platforms created a demand for employees with mobile application development skills to create and maintain apps that deliver a seamless customer experience.
  • Analytical reasoning: Businesses collect massive amounts of data, but it’s only useful if it can be analysed for trends and insights to inform decisions. Businesses are searching for employees who can analyse data and use to formulate data-driven strategies.

IT and tech skills 

People need to have information and communication technology (ICT) skills for businesses to remain successful, said Prudence Mathebula, founder and managing director of Dynamic DNA, an ICT training and skills development company.

“The accelerated demand for cloud skills is a direct result of the pandemic, which forced a migration toward distance learning and remote work,” Mathebula says.

This emerging demand paired with South Africa’s official unemployment rate rising 0.4 percentage points, to 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021, offers an opportunity for the gap between skills and opportunities to be narrowed, especially for the youth of South Africa.

Jessica Hawkey, the managing director at redAcademy said that when contemplating the unprecedented unemployment levels the country is currently facing, one of the main things that need to be highlighted is the mismatch between the skills and the opportunities that are available.

“The staggering shortage of opportunity for youth skills development and the current worldwide shortage of IT skills could be a real opportunity for South Africa,” said Hawkey.

The below-mentioned skills are in demand due to the development of ICT in businesses:

  • Cloud network engineering
  • Cyber security analysis
  • Proficiency in coding languages
  • User interface designer
  • Technical support technician

According to the latest Michael Page Market Overview and Hiring Insights, jobs which rely on these skills can earn the following on average:

Systems/Network engineer

  • At a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), R350,000 per year, R29,000 monthly.
  • At a multinational corporation (MNC), R550,000 per year, R45,830 monthly.

Cybersecurity engineer

  • SME, R750,000 per year. R62,500 per month.
  • MNC, R1.2 million per year. R100,000 per month.

Software developer

  • Senior Back End and Full Stack Developer at a SME, R900,000 per year. R75,000 monthly.
  • MNC, R1 million per year. R83,300 per month

Technical support manager

  • SME, R600,000 per year. R50,000 per month.
  • MNC, R600,000 per year.  R50,000 per month.

Read: Shortage of skills in critical sectors in South Africa

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The most valuable skills you need to secure a job in South Africa right now