Programming and finance still top South Africa’s rarest skills

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Research by online job aggregator Adzuna on more than 140,000 job listings and 1,250,000 job seeker searches puts technology and finance skills increasingly at the top of the rare skills pile.

In May 2018, Adzuna.co.za dissected over 140,000 online jobs to find out which skills were sought after, as well as how many job seekers were searching for those jobs. The same research was carried out in September 2017, and what has changed is interesting indeed. The research is not definitive but gives a very clear impression of the state of skills in South Africa today.

Put simply, a job advert for a Civil Engineer shows demand for civil engineering skills, while a job seeker search for “civil engineer jobs” depicts a supply of that skill. Combining these numbers gives a “rareness factor”. The higher the number, the rarer the skill, with more demand than supply.

Topping the rankings for 2018 thus far are the usual culprits, technology (programmers, IT, etc) and financial skills. What is surprising is the relative drop in the rarity of engineering skills. “Either engineers are more abundant, which is doubtful, or for some reason, less engineering skills are being advertised for,” says Jesse Green, Country Manager for Adzuna South Africa. “The average salaries have remained high, though, for engineers.”

Developers and accountants are in high demand and few of them are searching for jobs as of May 2018. Accounting skills, in particular, have seen increases in rarity of more than 100 percent.

Civil engineers, in particular, have come in at more than R628 000 on average, quite unchanged since September 2017 with only a 3 percent increase since then, mostly matching inflation. In fact, while the rarity of skills may have changed, salaries are overall much more stable. Only Sales Managers have seen a correlation in rarity and salary increase. Sales management skills are 123 percent rarer and have seen a 12 percent average salary increase over the last eight months.

Registered nurses have seen a massive increase in demand and “rareness”. The emigration of 20-30 percent of the nursing workforce (according to scientific journal papers published between 2001 and 2015) has had an impact on this sector of the job market. However, the exodus of these skills is decreasing, which should see a reprieve to the numbers, which is not the case. Also, although nursing skills are rarer, the salaries have not improved much, only going up by four percent since last September.

Other skills from a selection of the research are set out below in a table. People management and executive skills appear to be up to 80 percent rarer than last year. Meanwhile, drivers, secretaries, receptionists and salespeople are not as difficult to find or in more abundance. Not all job titles in the survey were included in this article.

The research is insightful and meaningful to many. Graduates and scholars would do well to see whether their intended line of study is going to be in demand and bring them a well-paid future. Companies, on the other hand, need to find innovative ways to recruit candidates in scarce-skill positions.

Research data table for May 2018

Job skill or title “Rareness” factor May 2018 Change since Sept 2017  Average salary – May 2018 Salary difference
java developer 137,0 6% R537 276 5%
developer 112,2 69% R485 210 4%
php developer 102,3 59% R425 815 4%
financial accountant 83,1 60% R459 633 -3%
web developer 80,3 51% R420 035 6%
software developer 44,7 6% R494 772 8%
net developer 32,2 23% R471 398 6%
consultant 29,4 91% R221 377 9%
assistant manager 29,2 82% R211 755 -5%
accountant 24,9 176% R409 003 4%
analyst 23,0 75% R512 305 -1%
technologist 17,6 -16% R492 603 -1%
executive 17,3 84% R276 871 7%
business analyst 12,5 95% R517 295 -4%
recruiter 9,2 -12% R253 276 8%
designer 7,7 34% R318 255 -3%
coordinator 6,9 33% R220 532 -2%
project manager 4,5 4% R611 556 5%
pharmacist 3,8 -11% R539 723 -2%
sales manager 3,3 123% R456 994 12%
civil engineer 3,3 -37% R628 337 3%
manager 3,3 -26% R486 613 9%
engineer 3,2 -38% R589 916 2%
registered nurse 3,1 521% R273 888 4%
bookkeeper 3,0 1% R181 216 -1%
officer 2,9 2% R216 544 -4%
planner 2,9 -13% R389 922 -8%
surveyor 2,4 -27% R546 344 7%
salesperson 2,1 -49% R183 968 -12%
secretary 2,0 -34% R146 710 4%
assistant 1,9 -33% R140 990 1%
technician 1,9 -60% R228 453 -3%
supervisor 1,8 -51% R256 713 5%
controller 1,7 -25% R317 852 19%
quantity surveyor 1,7 7% R503 642 3%
clerk 1,6 20% R133 733 1%
foreman 1,2 69% R464 821 8%
mechanic 1,1 -6% R430 057 -4%
operator 1,1 52% R405 546 16%
chef 0,9 10% R171 221 -1%
administrator 0,8 111% R158 470 -1%
receptionist 0,4 -27% R100 742 -1%
nurse 0,3 -46% R273 988 2%
driver 0,1 -37% R116 103 -3%

 

by Jesse Green

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