Cracking the colour code of SA’s IT industry

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Young black males are emerging as a dominant force in SA’s IT industry,
according to an IT Skills Survey conducted recently by Network IT Recruitment, a
division of Network Recruitment.

The changing demographics were in line with the country’s B-BBE policies and
were hugely encouraging for the IT sector and the wider economy, said Network
Recruitment MD, Niteske Marshall.

"Young white males still comprise the largest category of employees (74% of the
sample), but the dynamics are changing. For example, the research found that
significantly more black male respondents were under the age of 35 (86%) compared
to 66% of white male respondents.' The sample covered all areas of the IT sector
including software development, network infrastructure, technical support, QA, sales
and management.

"More good news is that IT staff are more educated with 37% of the sample
holding an IT degree. The vast majority of black respondents (93%) as well as
Indians (92%) indicated they would upgrade their skills within the next 12 months
with most intending to get certified or update their certification. A significant number
also said they would aim at a tertiary qualification.'

The short-term nature of jobs in the IT sector was also revealed. "Two years or
less is the norm, with very few people staying for longer than four years,' Marshall
said.Sixty two per cent of respondents were considering leaving their current
positions with the primary motivator being an increase in salary, followed by better
career prospects, greater levels of responsibility and more flexible working solutions.
Emigration remained top-of-mind, with 53% of respondents considering leaving the
country, with only 26% indicating a definite "no’.

When it came to finding jobs in IT, employment agencies were by far the most
common route (47% of respondents used an agency for their current job), followed
by 16% (direct approach), 13% (referral by a friend or colleague) and 10% employer
advertising. "Information technology may appear to be about computers, technology
and software, but the personal touch has a clear advantage when it comes to the
crunch,' Marshall said.

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