In-demand jobs in South Africa – the skills companies are looking for right now

Professional recruitment group Michael Page published a report on the prevailing hiring trends for 2021, showing which professional jobs and skills are in high demand across various sectors.

South Africa is in the eye of a massive churn as it deals with the aftermath of political riots, an ongoing global pandemic, and a dwindling economy. The good news is that the only way from here is up. The country will have to rebuild, and people are needed to get the economy rolling again.

The riots, violence, looting and vandalism that tore through KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng left a trail of destruction, affecting the jobs of about 150,000 traders and causing losses of up to R50 billion, as reported by Bloomberg.

Shaken by the events, the large expatriate workforce is seeking opportunities in more stable countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The local unemployment rate is also high, noted Michael Page. According to the recently released 2021 second quarter Quarterly Labour Force Survey data, unemployed people reached 7.83 million, with the unemployment rate at 34.4%, the highest since the introduction of the survey in 2008 – when the unemployment rate stood at 21.9%.

StatsSA said that the broad unemployment rate was 44.4% in the second quarter.

Its data showed that the unemployment rate for those aged 15–24 was 52.3% and among those aged 25–34 it was 28.9%. The expanded rate for those aged 15–24 was 73.4%, and among youths aged 25–34 it was 48.6%.

Flexibility and creativity

Michael Page said that all these changes shine the spotlight on the industries that will likely lead the country to a better future.

“For job seekers, recruiters and clients, it is a time to be flexible, creative and resilient in the rebuilding phase, the recruitment specialist said. With infrastructure being hit, the construction industry is expected to bounce back quickly and offer a variety of jobs at all levels, it said.

Data from Economic Research Institute around building & construction jobs revealed the following:

  • The average pay for an electrician is R277,253 a year and R33 an hour in South Africa. The average salary range for an electrician is between R202,552 and R343,656.
  • The average associate engineer salary in South Africa is R548,670 or an equivalent hourly rate of R264.
  • The average pay for an electronics engineer is R546,031 a year and R263 an hour in South Africa.
  • The average pay for a construction foreman is R234,741 a year and R113 an hour in South Africa. The average salary range for a Construction Foreman is between R169,808 and R292,166.
  • The average pay for a structural engineer is R658,738 a year and R317 an hour in South Africa. The average salary range for a structural engineer is between R467,057 and R824,617.
  • The average pay for a civil engineer is R600,986 a year and R289 an hour in Johannesburg, South Africa. The average salary range for a civil engineer is between R427,343 and R751,706.

For quantity surveyors, the country’s industry body found the following:

“The industry will reprioritise projects based on urgent needs, but job seekers and recruiters must keep an eye on the construction industry in KZN and Gauteng. South Africa remains a powerhouse in the African continent, and it will attract investors to help rebuild,” said Jaco Bester, managing consultant, Michael Page, South Africa.

There is very little difference in earnings for professionals in the construction sector across Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, said recruitment specialist, CareerJunction.

It is to the benefit of both clients and candidates to look for skills that can be interchangeable between sectors. “One such is the technicians’ skillsets in the automotive industry that can be utilised by the mining industry,” said Bester.

He added that a number of skills in the construction/manufacturing space could be transferrable to the mining space, too. Plus, the mining industry is resilient, unable to be shut down for too long.

Candidates will benefit from being flexible in their approach to work. “With the outlook being so uncertain, contract work is becoming increasingly popular which can also serve as a mechanism to remain active in the job market,” said Bester.

Roles in demand

CareerJunction has noted that job roles in IT, business management, and finance will always be in demand. It will be followed by roles in engineering, office support, sales and administration. “These roles cut across industries and are ever in demand,” Michael Page said.

Bester stated that there is always a need for talent in middle management, software development and sales.

CareerJunction has highlighted a number of trending jobs in recent months, namely positions that have become more popular in the online job market and have seen a recent spike in demand.

Average salary offerings for an intermediate level position:

IT Project Administration / Management

  • GP R51.630 to R66,203 p.m.
  • WC R45.351 to R56,303
  • KZN R32.857 to R46,074

Admin Clerk

  • GP R16,886 to R21,352
  • WC R15,367 to R21,025
  • KZN R12,250 to R21,449

Software Development

  • GP R48,442 to R65,604
  • WC R45,012 to R56,685
  • KZN R42,755 to R55,882

Systems / Network Administration

  • GP R35,265 to R47,947
  • WC R30,133 to R43,256
  • KZN R25,920 to R30,640

Team Leader & Supervisor

  • GP R26,302 to R33,532
  • WC R22,957 to R29,126
  • KZN R19,357 to R29,676

Business Analysis

  • GP R45,277 to R58,545
  • WC R40,498 to R53,365

Business Development

  • GP: R41,731 to R54,793
  • WC: R28,298 to R41,955
  • KZN: R30,181 to R44,583

Data Analysis/Data Warehousing

  • GP: R45,109 to R58,308
  • WC R41,360 to R59,925

Executive Management / Director

  • GP: R87,457 to R117,422
  • WC: R79,703 to R109,395
  • KZN: R87,524 to R104,682

Senior Management

  • Gauteng – R59,454 to R78,732
  • Western Cape – R46,439 to R55,394
  • KZN – R49,917 to R54,000

IT Project Administration / Management

  • GP: R49,852 to R67,097
  • WC: R49,254 to R62,310
  • KZN: R39,537 to R48,204

Representative / Sales Consulting

  • GP R15,067 to R22,253
  • WC R17,427 to R22,476
  • KZN R15,067 to R21,167

Bester’s advice to candidates would be to remain flexible, keep in touch with recruiters and also of the changing trends. For clients, his advice would be to get creative while hiring. There could be interchangeable skills from other industries that are useful.

Clients must also take the recruiters into confidence regarding their requirements, and search with an open mind, offering flexible packages, said Michael Page.

Upon observing the markets and studying the job trends, Bester is optimistic that by 2022, there will be a massive influx of job opportunities with a special focus on the Western Cape region.

Read: How much money you need to retire comfortably in South Africa, according to experts

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In-demand jobs in South Africa – the skills companies are looking for right now