Xpatweb’s Critical Skills Survey 2020/21 showed 77 percent of organisations were struggling to recruit and obtain critical skills in South Africa for their local and cross-border operations. Picture: Pixabay
Xpatweb’s Critical Skills Survey 2020/21 showed 77 percent of organisations were struggling to recruit and obtain critical skills in South Africa for their local and cross-border operations. Picture: Pixabay

Struggle to recruit staff for the top ten most skilled jobs in SA

By Edward West Time of article published Mar 31, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - XPATWEB’S Critical Skills Survey 2020/21 showed 77 percent of organisations were struggling to recruit and obtain critical skills in South Africa for their local and cross-border operations.

“A further 76 percent further confirmed an international search would assist them in meeting business objectives,” Xpatweb MD Marisa Jacobs said in a statement yesterday.

According to the latest survey, the top ten skills businesses were struggling to recruit include engineers (18 percent), ICT (13 percent); foreign language speakers (10 percent); media and marketing specialists (9 percent); artisans (8 percent); C-suite executives (7 percent); senior financial executives (6 percent); health professions and related clinical sciences (5 percent); science professionals (4 percent) and accounting (1 percent).

The number of businesses indicating that engineers were difficult to recruit rose to 18 percent from 16 percent which could indicate these skills were being lost to the brain drain as countries like Australia and the UK compete directly with South Africa for qualified and experienced professionals.

Business expansions into Africa for special projects locally in the oil and gas sectors also attracted these skills.

Mechanical engineers (26 percent) were most in demand, followed by maintenance engineers (18 percent), chemical engineers (13 percent) and industrial engineers (14 percent).

The demand for ICT skills remained high as 14 percent of businesses, compared to 15 percent in the 2019 survey, indicated they struggled to source skilled professionals to drive their operational transition into the digital economy.

Professionals most sought after included IT application developers (11 percent), data analysts (10 percent), data scientists (9 percent), software developers (9 percent) and software engineers (8 percent).

Most in demand senior executive professions were chief operating officer (24 percent), chief financial officer (24 percent), chief executive officer (19 percent) and chief technology officer (19 percent).

“SA has to compete more than ever with the likes of the US, Australia and the UK when considering its strategy to recruit skilled professionals,” said Jacobs.

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