Most In Demand Jobs In South Africa Now

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Knowing which jobs have vacancy rates and competitive salaries can guide graduates to a fulfilling and lucrative career. The Higher Education Department has published the most in demand jobs in South Africa. 


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The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) published the 2024 National List of Occupations in High Demand (OIHD). The goal of the lists’ publication is to bridge the gap between the skills people and the skills required by industries thereby improving employment prospects.  

South Africa’s current labour market is plagued by slow economic growth which limits job creation and a skills mismatch between what industries require and what jobs people are qualified for. 

The DHET points to the increase in graduate unemployment rates as an indicator that there is a skills mismatch. 

The unemployment rate for graduates increased by 1.2 percentage points - from 18.5% in 2019 to 19.7% in 2023. 

However, this does not mean that members of the South African labour force are not qualified to work.

 A staggering 51.7% of South African workers are employed in occupations that don't align with their educational qualifications. This mismatch is further amplified by the fact that roughly 23% of workers are overqualified for their jobs and 28.7% are underqualified. To make matters worse, 30.3% of workers are in fields entirely different from their area of study.

The levels of education–job mismatches in South Africa are very high, as 51.7% of South African workers are employed in an occupation for which they do not have the correct education level. 

The OIHD is seen as a critical response to this by identifying occupations that are experiencing a rise in job creation. These occupations offer competitive salaries and there are high vacancy rates in these occupations. 

Occupations in high demand refer to those occupations that show comparatively strong employment, wage and vacancy (job advertisement) growth and for which employers are likely to recruit in the medium term.

By understanding these in-demand occupations, the DHET aims to Improve the Post School Education and Training (PSET) sector’s responsiveness so that educational institutions can adapt programmes to better prepare students for high-demand fields.

Some High In Demand Jobs 

Business

  • Management: Logistics Managers, Road Transport Managers, Warehouse Managers, Fleet Managers, Airport or Harbour Managers, Health Service Specialised Clinic Managers, School Principals, College Principals, Retail General Managers, Facilities Managers, Call or Contact Centre Managers
  • Finance: Financial Managers, Accountants, Tax Professionals, Financial Investment Advisors, Management Accountants, Business Development Officers, Internal Auditors
  • Human Resources: Skills Development Practitioners, Human Resource Advisors, Training and Development Professionals
  • Marketing & Sales: Marketing Practitioners, Communication Coordinators, Sales Representatives

Information Technology (IT)

  • IT Specialists: ICT Systems Analysts, Data Scientists, Software Developers, Web Developers, Database Designers and Administrators, Systems Administrators, Computer Network and Systems Engineers, ICT Security Specialists
  • Technicians: ICT Support Services Managers

Engineering

  • General: Industrial Engineers, Industrial Engineering Technologists, Production Engineering Technologists
  • Civil: Civil Engineers, Civil Engineering Technologists
  • Environmental: Environmental Engineers, Environmental Scientists, Water Quality Analysts
  • Electrical: Electrical Engineers, Electrical Engineering Technicians
  • Mechanical: Mechanical Engineers, Mechanical Engineering Technicians
  • Other: Chemical Engineers, Mining Engineers, Metallurgical Engineers, Biomedical Engineers

Healthcare

  • Medical Professionals: General Medical Practitioners, Medical Specialists, Nurses, Pharmacists, Physiotherapists
  • Allied Health: Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Audiologists

Education & Training

  • Teachers: FET Phase Teachers, Senior Phase Teachers, Foundation Phase Teachers, Intermediate Phase Teachers
  • Trainers: Education or Training Advisors, ICT Trainers

Science & Research

  • Natural & Physical Scientists: Chemists, Geologists, Geophysicists, Hydrologists, Actuaries, Mathematicians, Statisticians, General Biologists, Biochemists, Biotechnologists, Zoologists
  • Agricultural Scientists: Agricultural Consultants, Agricultural Scientists, Wine Makers, Food and Beverage Scientists

Other

  • Quantity Surveyors
  • Urban and Regional Planners
  • Transport Analysts
  • Surveyors
  • Architects
  • Fashion Designers
  • Industrial Designers
  • Lawyers (Attorneys & Paralegals)
  • Social Workers
  • Editors & Writers (Book/Script Editors & Technical Writers)
  • Translators & Interpreters
  • Pilots
  • Commercial Sales Representatives
  • Property Managers
  • Chefs
  • Graphic Designers (included under Camera Operator)

The list can guide the creation of new qualifications to address emerging skills needs and ensuing resources can be directed towards programmes aligned with labour market demands.

This will also enhance graduates’ job prospects as they can use OIHD to explore promising career paths.

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In efforts to combat youth unemployment in South Africa, Government has injected billions into the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI). Details on the PYEI's increased budget were unveiled by the Deputy President.

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