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ICT-related jobs in high demand in SA

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Occupations in ICT-related fields are among the most sought after in SA, according to higher education, science and innovation minister Dr Blade Nzimande.

Yesterday, Nzimande detailed the findings of the latest National List of Occupations in High Demand (OIHD) in SA, which signals opportunities where students and graduates are likely to stand a better chance of finding employment.

The South African economy is in the doldrums, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, with unemployment, especially among youth, at an all-time high.

According to Stats SA’s latest quarterly labour force survey, the South African economy shed 2.2 million jobs in the second quarter of 2020.

The results indicate that the number of employed persons decreased by 2.2 million, to 14.1 million, in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2020, according to the survey. The statistical agency has noted the change as the largest quarter one to quarter two decline since the survey began in 2008.

Nzimande yesterday pointed out the jobs in demand are among those indicated in government’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan for the South African economy.

The plan has placed communications and the digital economy at the forefront, given the potential to unlock growth, and that necessary policy interventions will be put in place in order to ensure the building of digital skills, digital capacity and competitiveness.

According to Nzimande, the OIHD tells which occupations are likely to have vacancies and which occupations are likely to grow due to new investments, especially by government.

The minister explained that the OIHD identified 345 occupations that are in high demand out of a total of 1 500 registered in the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET’s) organising framework for occupations.

“Many of the occupations on the list can be associated with key areas and sectors identified as crucial for the reconstruction and recovery plan, such as the digital economy, energy, infrastructure development, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture, data scientists, Web developer, computer network technician, electrical engineer, concentrated solar power process controller, mechatronic technician, toolmaker, gaming worker, crop produce analyst and agricultural scientist, just to name a few.”

In light of the occupations on the list, Nzimande called on universities, technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges and private education and training institutions, as well as other training providers, to use the list to inform their selection of programme offerings, resource allocations and enrolment planning processes, as well as the identification and development of new qualifications and programmes that are more responsive to the needs of the economy and society as a whole.

“I am also hoping that those of you involved in the provision of career development and information services will use this list to guide young people about possible career opportunities.

“The list is only one of several elements in our skills planning arsenal. As a department, we have also researched and identified those occupations that may require skilled personnel to be recruited from outside of South Africa.

“This list will be shared with the minister of home affairs, who will consider it for possible adoption and gazetting,” he stated.

The OIHD was undertaken by the DHET, through the Labour Market Intelligence research programme, to support human resource development in the country.

This list is updated every two years, and is considered an important step to better understand the needs of the labour market. According to the minister, it is based on a thorough review of international good practice and information about global occupations in high demand.

In addition to the use of a range of statistics for the compilation of this list, the DHET undertook broad as well as deep stakeholder engagements regarding which occupations are in high demand.

“I would really like to thank all the organisations, both public and private, our social partners and our researchers for supporting the DHET to produce a credible, evidence-based and well-validated list of occupations in high demand,” he concluded.

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