The rarest skills in South Africa

2016-10-03 09:22

The rarest skills in South Africa

While some jobs are in high demand, others are very hard to find as well. Adzuna in South Africa has done some research on the most sought after skills by companies and their demand from job seekers, crowning those that push both factors the most to be the rarest skills in the country. By this logic, if a skill is in high demand but low in supply, this makes it rarer than skills which are low in both available candidates and low in demand.

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 (see Table 1). However, cross-referenced is the amount of job seekers available or looking for the relevant skills, making some qualifications and skills far more rare to find.

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

Job skill or titleDemand from companiesDemand from job seekers"Rareness" factor Average salary - Sept 2016 Average salary - May 2016
java developer218119114,8R528 135R525 369
financial accountant9961190,5R439 920R422 844
developer1560122469,6R470 872R486 281
php developer14582363,4R395 950R401 590
web developer13663242,7R407 987R442 016
assistant manager9482537,9R218 449R197 904
software developer12193336,9R496 747R507 944
recruiter245010822,7R513 326R475 724
net developer9395018,8R467 460R457 940
consultant564439714,2R277 493R275 716
technologist9297013,3R486 118R473 417
executive305826211,7R315 045R307 892
analyst405436111,2R531 762R529 491
accountant393437610,5R418 910R415 556
pharmacist12841926,7R506 418R568 405
designer18612806,6R363 890R393 921
coordinator10442673,9R246 187R211 475
planner8722273,8R449 795R417 609
project manager13703593,8R558 330R551 704
engineer823822663,6R596 996R565 653
business analyst13043613,6R569 417R548 304
manager2263164793,5R498 565R484 938
quantity surveyor9012693,3R532 380R482 622
civil engineer8692693,2R592 809R595 538
bookkeeper13364902,7R181 150R205 298
controller23318712,7R345 115R364 566
secretary10084642,2R168 895R187 767
officer402618942,1R286 784R281 632
technician248512052,1R227 406R269 947
surveyor10355102,0R561 940R477 961
foreman8915491,6R453 944R410 078
assistant537233281,6R151 827R168 280
clerk333420781,6R141 018R133 952
supervisor151411021,4R253 359R260 419
salesperson189414001,4R267 329R233 467
operator231125000,9R392 775R408 920
sales manager114514000,8R436 646R414 721
chef140918000,8R157 660R178 609
nurse176824040,7R283 224R317 664
mechanic133018270,7R464 945R439 354
registered nurse93634970,3R276 671R285 932
administrator4550180000,3R184 159R205 468
receptionist170569620,2R97 464R102 780
driver1814146850,1R111 919R100 373

A 2,0 factor score would thus mean that in essence, twice as many vacancies exist as job seekers searching for such a position. If this does not seem rare enough already, bear in mind that the job seeker looking for work in that skill or job title may not even be qualified or suitable for the position.

Further interpretation

The results contain a few interesting findings, yet the rarest skills still 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. Interestingly, recruiters are now a hot skill, with many organisations and agencies requiring recruitment specialists in their HR departments.

While not every job in demand is posted online, the trends shown by the sample data 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.

Combining these two data sets gives one a clearer view on which skills are hardest to find in South Africa, yet not every rare skill is necessarily highly paid. As a third factor, salary would probably be able to assist in predicting further the rarest skills in South Africa, although in some industries, such as textiles, weaving managers with many qualifications and years of experience do not necessarily earn as high a income as one might imagine, given that there are extremely few of these skills in the country. The highest salaries for those skills in the Table 1 above were for engineers, pharmacists, project managers, developers and analysts.

Salary changes and critical skills

What is interesting to note, which is not shown in these results, is the change in salaries from May to September, where the rarer skills in South Africa have not seen as much growth as one would have expected.

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 in South Africa 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.

With numerous means of finding out which skills are rare, the technology arena continually shines through as the place to be working in. Now, with finance skills showing an increasing difficulty to recruit, 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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