Which skills are most in demand by employers? Addressing this important question can help you decide which college courses to study, and will give you an idea of which career paths will give you the best employment opportunities. Here are some of the top skills that South African employers are looking for.
1. Software Development
In today’s digitally dominated world, IT-related skills are far and away the most sought after skills globally and in South Africa. Developing innovative, user-friendly software has become a necessity for businesses that want to stay competitive. In CareerJunction’s Index, software development has remained the highest in-demand skill since the beginning of 2018, with the June index showing a 4% increase in hiring activity for software developers from May to June.
2. Network and Information Security
With businesses moving their capabilities and data onto digital platforms, the need to protect this information is becoming more urgent than ever before, particularly in the face of increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals. In the 2018 PWC Global Economic Crime Survey, 77% of organisations in South Africa said that they have been victims of economic crime. Of this 77%, 29% said that they have been victims of cybercrime, and this number is growing rapidly.
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3. Web Development
Every modern company needs a website, and there is also a need to constantly update website content, user interfaces, visuals and functionality. Web development is a thriving, rapidly growing job sector, with demand likely to remain high for many years to come. A quick search on job site Adzuna reveals that there are more than 2 800 web developer vacancies currently being advertised in South Africa, with a healthy average annual salary of R493 000.
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4. Management Skills
Management positions have been and always will be amongst the most sought-after jobs across all sectors. In South Africa, skills shortages are rife in this area, so starting any career with the long-term goal of becoming a manager should give you some solid future prospects. The Career Junction Index found that “middle/department managers face good employment prospects as jobs are in abundance”, and that financial managers are particularly sought after. Meanwhile, managers – particularly in the public sector – fall within the top level (highest demand) of the 2018 National List of Occupations in High Demand.
Sales are the defining success factor for most businesses. With the corporate world becoming ever more competitive, employers are channeling more of their time and money into hiring sales staff. According to the National List of Occupations in High Demand, sales and marketing managers are highest in demand. Meanwhile, CareerJunction has found that there continues to be a strong demand for sales consultants.
6. Financial skills
Financial skills such as accounting, financial management, auditing, and investment analysis are all included in the Department of Labour’s skills in highest demand in South Africa. Meanwhile, a 2018 study by recruiting company Robert Walters found that financial and legal professionals will enjoy increasing demand for their skills, as businesses are hiring heavily in this area. In addition, finance professionals can expect to see salary raises of between 12% and 15% ̶ amongst the highest of any profession.
A high proportion of engineering graduates choose to work in countries outside South Africa, resulting in skills gaps in this sector. Engineering occupations dominate the Department of Labour’s National Scarce Skills List, occupying the top three positions and six of the top 10. Once you’ve completed a national engineering qualification and you start applying for jobs, employers may well be clamouring to hire you. Click here to start studying towards a technical career in engineering
Note: This article was originally published on 6 October 2017, and has been updated for relevance and accuracy.