South Africa is in the eye of a massive churn as it deals with the aftermath of political riots, an ongoing global pandemic, and a dwindling economy. The good news is that the only way from here is up. The country will have to rebuild, and people are needed to get the economy rolling again. 

The riots, violence, looting and vandalism that tore through the country’s KZN and Gauteng regions left a trail of destruction, affecting the jobs of about 150,000 traders and causing losses of up to R 50 billion, as reported by Bloomberg. Shaken by the events, the large expatriate workforce is seeking opportunities in stabler countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The local unemployment rate is also high. The Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) reported that almost one out of every two young people aged 15-34 years in South Africa was out of a job in the first quarter of 2021. 

Flexibility and creativity

All these changes are shining the spotlight on the industries that will likely lead the country to a better future. For job seekers, recruiters and clients, it is a time to be flexible, creative and resilient in the rebuilding phase. With infrastructure being hit, the construction industry is expected to bounce back quickly and offer a variety of jobs at all levels. “The industry will reprioritize projects based on urgent needs, but jobseekers and recruiters must keep an eye on the construction industry in KZN and Gauteng. South Africa remains a powerhouse in the African continent, and it will attract investors to help rebuild,” says Jaco Bester, Managing Consultant, Michael Page, South Africa.  

It is to the benefit of both clients and candidates to look for skills that can be interchangeable between sectors. “One such is the technicians’ skillsets in the automotive industry that can be utilized by the mining industry,” explains Bester. He says that a number of skills in the construction/manufacturing space could be transferrable to the mining space, too. Plus, the mining industry is resilient, unable to be shut down for too long. 

Candidates will benefit from being flexible in their approach to work. “With the outlook being so uncertain, contract work is becoming increasingly popular which can also serve as a mechanism to remain active in the job market,” says Bester. 

Roles in demand

Job portal Career Junction has shared that job roles in IT, Business Management and Finance will always be in demand. It will be followed by roles in Engineering, Office Support, Sales and Administration. These roles cut across industries and are ever in demand. Bester agrees that there is always a need for talent in Middle Management, Software Development and Sales. 

Bester’s advice to candidates would be to remain flexible, keep in touch with recruiters and also of the changing trends. For clients, his advice would be to get creative while hiring. There could be interchangeable skills from other industries that are useful. Clients must also take the recruiters into confidence regarding their requirement, and search with an open mind, offering flexible packages. 

Upon observing the markets and studying the job trends, Bester is optimistic that by 2022, there will be a massive influx of job opportunities with a special focus on the Western Cape region. 

Download our 2021 South Africa Market Overview and Hiring Insights Guide for key insights on how to adapt and thrive post-pandemic. If you are looking to hire talent for your business in South Africa, submit a job spec and our team will reach out to you. 

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