/30 in-demand jobs in South Africa – and the post-Covid skills companies are looking for

30 in-demand jobs in South Africa – and the post-Covid skills companies are looking for

Professional recruitment group Michael Page published a report on the prevailing hiring trends for 2021, showing which professional jobs and skills are in high demand across various sectors.

The report was developed as a guideline for hiring managers and job seekers in South Africa, focusing on disciplines in engineering, finance, human resources, technology and sales, among others.

Paul Newman, operating director for Page Group South Africa, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 caused a major shift in the types of skillsets and positions in demand in the market, with a notable change towards working from home.

“It is undeniable that an increase in homeworking will be one long-term legacy of the pandemic. It will be interesting to see how employers tackle the challenges of managing a blended workforce, and how the role of offices will evolve,” he said.

A survey in the latter months of 2020 by the group showed that as many as 74% of workers in professional fields had moved to a remote working setup – though the vast majority were working within normal hours, not adopting flexible work days.

This type of work style had a largely positive impact on productivity, motivation and work satisfaction, the group said. However, different sectors face different challenges in this regard.

As part of its report, Michael Page pinpointed five in-demand job positions in each sector it covers, highlighting the key skills required in a ‘post-Covid’ landscape, as well as an over-arching challenge faced by the segment.

Engineering and Manufacturing

Among engineers and manufacturers, positions require specific qualifications and training to fill positions. Because of this there is a very limited pool of talent that actually qualify, making it an extremely competitive market, Michael Page said.

In some cases, this causes a big disparity in salaries. The group said that professionals looking for work in this field need to pursue these qualifications, as they will open doors – with even basic qualifications leading to potential on-the-job and further training.

The key skills being sought after here are:

Finance and Accounting

Michael Page noted two big challenges in the finance and accounting fields in South Africa: a push by local firms to downsize teams, or to move their functions and services overseas, as well as not having the innovative thinking or necessary skills to deal with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here, it said that having multiple skills, or being able to serve in multiple roles would help in keeping a place in smaller teams.

The key skills being sought after include:

Human Resources

The biggest issues in HR, Michael Page said, is that companies are facing considerable budget constraints, which mean smaller teams and fewer people on staff. Additionally, with work from home conditions over lockdown, many employees are seeking flexible work hours – which is in conflict with traditional working methods. As a result, employees may look elsewhere for positions that can better meet their needs.

The solution here is for both employees and employers to play their part, the group said. Employees need in experience in multiple roles, and can earn better salaries for it, saving the company from hiring two or three people for the job – and employers can adopt more flexible working conditions to attract the right skills. As long as productivity and output measures are in place.

Key skills being looked for in this segment include:

Procurement and Supply Chain

Within the procurement and supply chain segment, there has been a growing need for skills during the pandemic – however, companies have had to reduce staff due to budget constraints. Thus they do not have the necessary allowances for the skills they need, Michael Page said.

This could provide a bigger opportunity for temp workers, it said, where those who are willing to work on a contract basis could thrive.

Vital skills in this field are:

Sales and Marketing

The biggest challenges facing marketing and sales teams are a lack of skills in e-commerce, as well as a move towards more niche or specialist recruitment – either for specific regions or specific items.

Michael Page says that employees need to upskill themselves to be tech-savvy as quickly as possible, and to take on as many projects as possible to keep themselves relevant.

Key skills being sought-after include:


According to Michael Page, the big problem in this field is simple: there are not enough people with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. Unfortunately, the solution lies in a complete shift in South Africa’s educational landscape.

In-demand skillsets here include: