While some jobs are in high demand, others are very hard to find as well. Adzuna.co.za in South Africa has done some research on the most sought after skills by companies and their demand from job seekers, crowning those that push both factors the most to be the rarest skills in the country. By this logic, if a skill is in high demand but low in supply, this makes it rarer than skills which are low in both available candidates and low in demand.
From the data generated by listing over 130,000 online job listings in South Africa, as well as searching through mountains of search requests by millions of applicants, skills needed for the following industries and vacancies has risen and is high (see Table 1). However, cross-referenced is the amount of job seekers available or looking for the relevant skills, making some qualifications and skills far more rare to find.
Table 1: Demand for skills by companies crossed with demand for positions by job seeker searches
|Job skill or title||Demand from companies||Demand from job seekers||“Rareness” factor||Average salary – Sept 2016||Average salary – May 2016|
|java developer||2181||19||114,8||R528 135||R525 369|
|financial accountant||996||11||90,5||R439 920||R422 844|
|developer||15601||224||69,6||R470 872||R486 281|
|php developer||1458||23||63,4||R395 950||R401 590|
|web developer||1366||32||42,7||R407 987||R442 016|
|assistant manager||948||25||37,9||R218 449||R197 904|
|software developer||1219||33||36,9||R496 747||R507 944|
|recruiter||2450||108||22,7||R513 326||R475 724|
|net developer||939||50||18,8||R467 460||R457 940|
|consultant||5644||397||14,2||R277 493||R275 716|
|technologist||929||70||13,3||R486 118||R473 417|
|executive||3058||262||11,7||R315 045||R307 892|
|analyst||4054||361||11,2||R531 762||R529 491|
|accountant||3934||376||10,5||R418 910||R415 556|
|pharmacist||1284||192||6,7||R506 418||R568 405|
|designer||1861||280||6,6||R363 890||R393 921|
|coordinator||1044||267||3,9||R246 187||R211 475|
|planner||872||227||3,8||R449 795||R417 609|
|project manager||1370||359||3,8||R558 330||R551 704|
|engineer||8238||2266||3,6||R596 996||R565 653|
|business analyst||1304||361||3,6||R569 417||R548 304|
|manager||22631||6479||3,5||R498 565||R484 938|
|quantity surveyor||901||269||3,3||R532 380||R482 622|
|civil engineer||869||269||3,2||R592 809||R595 538|
|bookkeeper||1336||490||2,7||R181 150||R205 298|
|controller||2331||871||2,7||R345 115||R364 566|
|secretary||1008||464||2,2||R168 895||R187 767|
|officer||4026||1894||2,1||R286 784||R281 632|
|technician||2485||1205||2,1||R227 406||R269 947|
|surveyor||1035||510||2,0||R561 940||R477 961|
|foreman||891||549||1,6||R453 944||R410 078|
|assistant||5372||3328||1,6||R151 827||R168 280|
|clerk||3334||2078||1,6||R141 018||R133 952|
|supervisor||1514||1102||1,4||R253 359||R260 419|
|salesperson||1894||1400||1,4||R267 329||R233 467|
|operator||2311||2500||0,9||R392 775||R408 920|
|sales manager||1145||1400||0,8||R436 646||R414 721|
|chef||1409||1800||0,8||R157 660||R178 609|
|nurse||1768||2404||0,7||R283 224||R317 664|
|mechanic||1330||1827||0,7||R464 945||R439 354|
|registered nurse||936||3497||0,3||R276 671||R285 932|
|administrator||4550||18000||0,3||R184 159||R205 468|
|receptionist||1705||6962||0,2||R97 464||R102 780|
|driver||1814||14685||0,1||R111 919||R100 373|
A 2,0 factor score would thus mean that in essence, twice as many vacancies exist as job seekers searching for such a position. If this does not seem rare enough already, bear in mind that the job seeker looking for work in that skill or job title may not even be qualified or suitable for the position.
The results contain a few interesting findings, yet the rarest skills still remain in the technology sector. Engineers and developers, together with financial skills, are clearly the hardest to find, with the most demand from firms, yet with the least available candidates. Interestingly, recruiters are now a hot skill, with many organisations and agencies requiring recruitment specialists in their HR departments.
Jesse Green, country manager for Adzuna South Africa commented on the findings: “While not every job in demand is posted online, the trends shown by the sample data are clear and meaningful. Companies must dig deep to explore new ways of attracting programming and engineering skills, as well as some of those in the financial or accountancy area. Management skills too, represent a challenge.”
Combining these two data sets gives one a clearer view on which skills are hardest to find in South Africa, yet not every rare skill is necessarily highly paid. As a third factor, salary would probably be able to assist in predicting further the rarest skills in South Africa, although in some industries, such as textiles, weaving managers with many qualifications and years of experience do not necessarily earn as high a income as one might imagine, given that there are extremely few of these skills in the country. The highest salaries for those skills in the Table 1 above were for engineers, pharmacists, project managers, developers and analysts.
“What is interesting to note, which is not shown in these results, is the change in salaries from May to September, where the rarer skills have not seen as much growth as one would have expected,” says Green.
Another means of interpreting skill rarity is to see what the Department of Labour recognises as South Africa’s “critical skills”. A list of critical skills is published annually and the list from 2014 is used by the Department of Home Affairs to determine if a foreign worker may be employed ahead of a South African. Green, who has a background in immigration services, mentions that unfortunately this list is becoming outdated and does not take into account later lists published by the Department of Labour.
With numerous means of finding out which skills are rare, the technology arena continually shines through as the place to be working in. Now, with finance skills showing an increasing difficulty to recruit, it will be interesting to see how companies, and hopefully the South African government, ensure that South African firms are able to hire the right people with the best competencies.