Top 100 scarce skills in South Africa

A list containing the top 100 occupations in South Africa that are in short supply has been released for comment by the Department of Higher Education and Training. This list, which will be updated every two years, will be used to inform South Africa’s human resource planning and funding allocation, programme development, and immigration strategies.

The provision of education and training in South Africa has not been aligned with the needs of the economy and that of society. South Africa’s growing skills crisis has been highlighted in many publications and this has been identified as an impediment to growth and development, as well as service delivery.

The purpose of the top 100 list is to inform:

  • human resource planning and development;
  • resource allocation and prioritisation;
  • the development of relevant qualifications, programmes and curricula; and
  • international recruitment strategies.

INSETA CEO Sandra Dunn welcomed the gazetting of the list and said that it had been compiled from a wide range of information sources which included INSETA’s Scarce and Pivotal Skills Lists. Occupations that are scarce in each of the 21 sectors represented by the SETAs were taken into account in compiling the list. However users must bear in mind that more points were awarded to an occupation if it was identified across a number of sectors as scarce, and had also been identified in other documents like the National Development Plan (NDP); The Department of Labour’s Job Opportunities and Employment Report (JOUR); and Career Junction’s Salary and Wage Report.

It is not surprising to see scarce insurance sector professions like Finance Manager, ICT Systems Analyst, Actuary and Financial Investment Manager make the top 100 list, as these are professions that are in high demand in the broader financial sector. SETAs will use the list to guide their funding allocation for bursaries, learnerships, internships and artisan training. Learners who are making subject choices for higher education must be given career guidance counselling on the top 100 scarce skill occupations. Occupations which require subjects like mathematics, science and IT dominate the top 100 scarce skills.

A key driver of employment in the short-term will be government’s investment of R827 billion in building new and upgrading existing infrastructures over the next three years.  The work has been organised into 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) which is intended to improve access by South Africans to healthcare facilities, schools, water, sanitation, housing and electrification, construction of ports, roads, railway systems, electricity plants, hospitals, schools and dams. Skills shortages identified in SIPs are concentrated in the engineering and built environment occupations. A shortage of engineers, technologists, technicians and artisans has been identified.

Top 10 scarce skills list in South Africa

1. Electrical Engineer

2. Civil Engineer

3. Mechanical Engineer

4. Quantity Surveyor

5. Programme or Project Manager

6. Finance Manager

7. Physical and Engineering Science Technicians

8. Industrial and Production Engineers

9. Electrician

10. Chemical Engineer

The Department of Home Affair could draw from this top 100 list to compile a “critical skills list” to facilitate the issuing of work visas.

This article was written by Sharon Snell and first appeared on the website: Skills-Universe.

Sunday Times reported this week on the “skills crunch” on page 4, which includes a need for foreign-language speakers, motor mechanics, toolmakers, and ship’s engineers, to name a few.

You can find the full list in the Government Gazette on the Department of Home Affairs website. 

Sharon Snell