January of every year shows a peak in job seekers online, searching high and low for vacancies to match their New Year’s resolutions.
December bonuses have been paid out and employees have had time to re-evaluate their jobs, bringing an enormous amount of change. If I were an employer, I’d make sure before people go on holiday that they are extra happy.
That said, the supply of jobs is lower at the start of the month, meaning that competition is fierce. Research by Adzuna done in early January therefore shows a reduction in demand for certain skills that will abate by the end of the month. However, while demand is lower and sample sizes are smaller, the clear message is that the rare skills of 2016 are here to stay for the beginning of 2017.
Engineering, programming and financial skills are highly sought after, and while many job types see lower salaries posted on average over the December holidays, these saw higher figures in compensation while other sectors saw drops. One interesting increase was the salary average noted for chefs, who scored 12% more on salaries over the festive season, possibly due to restaurants realising higher demand in their own industry. Receptionists, also, saw the only increase in demand and salary, proving those skills a good set to have going forward.
A notable drop occurred in sales related positions, however this could be due to many vacancies not showing commissions in the salary data. Estate agents, for example, earn an average of around R15,000 according to the sample, however in reality earn the larger part of their income from commission earnings.
As the demand increases later in January 2017, many businesses will be forced to increase the price on their engineering and developer talent. Java, .Net and PHP developers will again lead the demand, with engineering skills very close behind. Of the main skills required in general industry, civil engineers topped the salary pile with an average of over R600,000. For more refined skills, C-suite executives, programme directors, certain lawyers and energy engineers saw salaries way above R1,000,000 per annum.
The top skill across all industries was clearly project management. Candidates with experience and qualifications, as well as certifications, in managing a single or multiple projects, are currently in good stead to be employed not matter what the economic situation in South Africa.
It remains to be seen how the job landscape will change in 2017, but for now it’s still a scarce skills market. The message to job seekers is still to upskill themselves by taking on courses and obtaining new qualifications, as well as demanding training from current and prospective employers