Job data shows IT skills in Joburg are the place to be

2016-11-03 11:31

Research by job aggregator Adzuna has shown a widening gap in salaries between two of South Africa’s capitals, with certain skills bringing home far more bacon than others.

Previous surveys showed a smaller pay difference between Cape Town and Johannesburg, as well as a rather insignificant change in salary from the Western Cape to Gauteng. Those wanting to make a move should now take salary into account. Those working in Gauteng can now expect to earn an average of 13% more than their Western Cape counterparts, while Joburg employees now bring in 18% more than Capetonians.

These statistics are averages and many industries and job types are mixed together, but even so, the message is clear. The average of all South Africa’s more than 130,000 online job listings was R375,786. While not every job is listed online, the data includes 22,230 Western Cape positions, much less than the 53,815 in the Gauteng province. This speaks to the facts that not only are salaries better in the north, but the amount and type of opportunities is higher as well.

Gauteng also is home to more than half the 130,000 jobs analysed from the Adzuna website. While many of those moving to Cape Town do receive a higher salary at the coast, there are fewer positions to choose from.

Adzuna’s public stats engine shows the bulk of jobs emanate from Gauteng.

Citing other online publications, residents of Johannesburg often mention the “big city life”, financial improvements and a general pace of living as the reasons they prefer Joburg over Cape Town. On the other hand, Capetonians quote the quality of life and a better municipal service, together with natural beauty and experience as their main factors.

Adzuna also spoke to a few job seekers about the numbers. A respondent named Claudette, who moved to Cape Town a few years ago from the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, says that she would never dream of moving back, even for any pay rise imaginable. In contrast, Nic, who has just accepted a new opportunity in Gauteng, says: “I will miss the Cape, but jobs like this one just aren’t located here, you have to be prepared to move to where the action is.”

Both cities are well worth considering, but the final choice depends on the subjective opinions of job seekers.

Rare skills in both cities

Meanwhile, the rarity of skills comes into play for the companies looking for staff and applicants with those skills. Some jobs have become far more sought after worldwide and Adzuna has completed research for the South African market, giving different business titles a “rareness factor”.

This is calculated by taking the amount of demand for the skill versus the demand for positions of that nature and comparing the two metrics. A 2,0 factor score would thus mean that in essence, twice as many vacancies exist as job seekers searching for such a position.

From the data generated by listing over 130,000 online job listings in South Africa, as well as searching through mountains of search requests by millions of applicants, skills needed for the following industries and vacancies has risen and is high.

Table 1: Demand for skills by companies crossed with demand for positions by job seeker searches

Job skill or title"Rareness" factorAverage salary - Sept 2016
java developer114,8R528 135
financial accountant90,5R439 920
php developer63,4R395 950
web developer42,7R407 987
assistant manager37,9R218 449
software developer36,9R496 747
recruiter22,7R513 326
net developer18,8R467 460
pharmacist6,7R506 418
designer6,6R363 890
project manager3,8R558 330
engineer3,6R596 996
business analyst3,6R569 417
quantity surveyor3,3R532 380
civil engineer3,2R592 809
   

The rarest titles above mirror those of those skills that qualify for work visas on most countries’ skills lists. As expected, the rarest skills remain in the technology sector. Engineers and developers, together with financial skills, are clearly the hardest to find, with the most demand from firms, yet with the least available candidates.

This simple research shows trends which are clear and meaningful. Companies must dig deep to explore new ways of attracting programming and engineering skills, as well as some of those in the financial or accountancy area. Management skills too, represent a challenge.

Average salaries for each skill could influence the decision to call it rare or not, however Adzuna points out that not all rare skills are highly paid. The highest salaries for those skills in the Table 1 above were for engineers, pharmacists, project managers, developers and analysts.

Another means of interpreting skill rarity is to see what the Department of Labour recognises as South Africa’s “critical skills”. A list of critical skills is published annually and the list from 2014 is used by the Department of Home Affairs to determine if a foreign worker may be employed ahead of a South African. Unfortunately this list is becoming outdated and does not take into account later lists published by the Department of Labour.

It will be interesting to see how companies, and hopefully the South African government, ensure that South African firms are able to hire the right people with the best competencies.

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