Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa are struggling to find employees who are the right fit for their businesses and have the necessary skills to increase efficiency and business growth.
So if you are a sales rep, accountant or software developer, or have admin or IT skills, you will have a good chance of securing a job – even in this tough economic climate.
New research reveals that South Africa’s local job market increased by 5 percent from the first quarter of 2023 to the second quarter, and that hiring activity has increased by 3 percent year-on year.
Pnet’s Job Market Trends Report for Q2:2023 also notes that there has been a 27 percent growth in jobs over the past two years. Hiring activity remains stable and has continued to grow since the beginning of the year.
SMEs play a crucial role in most economies, particularly in developing countries like South Africa; they also account for the majority of businesses worldwide and are important contributors to job creation and global economic development, the report says.
It also cites the World Bank Group as stating that SMEs represent about 90 percent of businesses and more than 50 percent of employment worldwide, with formal SMEs contributing up to 40 percent of national income (GDP) in emerging economies. These numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included.
“The World Bank Group estimates that 600 million SMEs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing global workforce, which makes SME development a high priority for many governments. In emerging markets, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which create seven out of 10 jobs.”
One of the challenges SMEs face, however, is finding and hiring employees who are good fits for their business and have the skills required to increase efficiency and business growth. After researching the recruitment needs of SMEs over the past 12 months, the Pnet report reveal these findings:
Top in-demand skills within SMEs
- Business and management
- Admin, office, and support
- Information technology
Top 3 in-demand roles in the SME sector
- Sales representatives
- Software developers
The report digs further into the particular needs of these main roles, including the top skills within the fields, the qualifications required, the best places to study for these positions, and the salary expectations.
The report also shows what basic salaries you can expect to earn in these fields, without commission or incentives. These differ depending on the region you work.
- Gauteng: R19,000 to R25,000
- KwaZulu-Natal: R19,000 to R24,000
- Western Cape: R18,000 to R23,000
In an American e-paper article, a small business owner explained the challenge of SMEs recruiting sales staff: “Small businesses often face challenges when it comes to closing sales deals. This is usually due to a lack of sales skills, resources, and experience. Small businesses often lack the resources to provide comprehensive sales training to their employees. This can result in sales teams that are ill-equipped to handle various sales scenarios, leading to fewer closed deals.”
These are the salaries that you can expect to earn as a financial accountant:
- Gauteng: R31,000 to R41,000
- Western Cape: R31,000 to R39,000
- KwaZulu-Natal: R29,000 to R38,000
The Pnet report cites a 2021 study on factors affecting the financial sustainability of SMEs in South Africa as stating: “… it was found that financial awareness, budgeting, accounting skills, and access to finance have positive and significant effects on the financial sustainability of SMEs”.
This is the range of monthly salaries for software developers:
- Gauteng: R45,000 to R64,000
- Western Cape: R34,000 to R66,000
- KwaZulu-Natal: R37,000 to R49,000
According to the report, European research findings reveal that the lack of software development skills is challenging for the SME market.
Other digital skills that SMEs are missing include:
- Complex data analysis and mathematical skills
- Digital strategy and leadership skills
- Digital project management skills
- Website development skills
- Data/database management skills
- Basic data input and processing skills