In a recent article, Skills Development Corporation looked at the most in-demand jobs in South Africa as of the end of 2021.
The research that we did helped a lot of young people get an idea of where they should focus to forge strong career paths. One thing that came up a lot though, was, which skills individuals should focus on to make themselves more employable in the various sectors.
One needs to be mindful of the impact of the lockdown, which has caused both lulls and booms in the demand for particular skills. While certain skills may feature well now, they may not be considered “ever-green” on a larger timeframe and vice versa.
The most employable skills in South Africa
South Africa is renowned for its sporadic adoption of innovative technology. Even now, in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we lag behind the rest of the world in this area.
Employable skills (or the lack thereof) in this industry are no exception – of all the skills in demand in 2022, IT related specialisations rank the highest. Applicants in this sector are spoiled for choice, with staffing shortages prevalent across a broad range of IT specialisations – from physical IT support to software development and even peripheral functions, such as specialised project management in the software development sector.
Jobs in line with this area of specialty include:
· Programme and software development
· IT infrastructure management
· IT analytics, design, and architecture &
· Web design
If you are interested in or show proficiency in information technology, computer science, or broader IT-related functions, you should leverage your skills in this area. Careers in this sector are considered more ‘ever green’ than others mentioned on this list, given the ease with which professionals can pivot to new demands and the projected longevity of the industry itself.
Mathematics, analytics, and engineering
These skills are, by far, the broadest ranging in terms of application in a career sense. In the simplest terms, multiple industries are lacking “critical thinkers” with an aptitude for ‘seeing the world in shapes and numbers’. This poses significant opportunity for individuals who possess these skills, as they are spoiled for choice when choosing a career. Jobs/ industries in line with these skills include (but are not limited to):
· Actuarial science
· Finance and insurance
· City planning and site surveying
· Data science/ analytics &
Much like those hoping to pursue a career in IT, individuals who show an aptitude in this area should place focus on the trends created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, to further bolster their earning potential and the longevity of their career.
Creative and artistic
Moving from the left side of the brain to the right, creatives are in equally high demand as those mentioned above.
Once again, skills in this area can be applied to a broad range of industries, dependant on the individual’s preference or skill set. Interestingly, and something to take note of, a dire need has been identified for individuals in the 2D and 3D animation fields. Potential jobs/ industries in line with these skills can include:
· Creative director
· 2D and 3D animation
· Copywriting &
· Interior design
If you have an aptitude for the arts, whether in written form, graphic form, or across an artistic spectrum, your skills are in high demand.
Athleticism and sports
If the idea of being stuck behind a desk scares you, then here is some good news. Skills related to careers in athletics are amongst the top-identified skills which are lacking in South Africa in 2022. You may think that a career in athletics or sport means exclusively using your body to produce an income, however, this field, like many mentioned above, offers career opportunities to individuals of all kinds (including desk jobs, if you are so inclined). These are some of the jobs you can apply your skillset to:
· Personal training
· Sports science
Sports, like many other industries, boasts a large number of required skills, making it easy for individuals with a love for athletics to identify the perfect career for them.
Management and leadership
Management is not a skill many possess, which makes it one of the most in demand skills in South Africa today. Employers across every industry are desperately trying to identify individuals with the ability to lead their teams and businesses. These are just a handful of the jobs in this area of specialty:
· Sales management
· Project management
· Production management
· Team leader
· Operations management
· Marketing management
· General management
It goes without saying that managers should possess a wide skillset applicable to their industry/ career of choice, though the ability to lead teams puts them in an advantageous position.
If you would like to develop skills in some of these areas or expand your skillset to make yourself more employable in a specific area or sector, head over to the SDC website, where you will find SETA-accredited short courses, all designed to give learners a competitive edge in the workplace. Likewise, SDC offer corporate packages so that your business can leverage these skills from your existing workforce.
Wessel Botha is managing director of SDC Wealth Management and spokesperson for Skills Development Corporation.
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