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What To Know About South Africa's Job Market

December 13, 2022
It pays to be aware of the job market of various countries. Let's say you plan to stay in South Africa for a long time. Or perhaps you intend to relocate here. Of course, this means that you'll be working here too. But before you go out there, it pays to know a little bit about South Africa's job market. Things like the current unemployment rate, which is 32.9%, or the fact that the country's biggest industries are agriculture, mining, and finance. Having all this info will work well for you when it's time to get a job here.

What To Know About South Africa's Job Market

The Unemployment Rate in South Africa

As already mentioned, the current unemployment rate in South Africa is 32.9%. And yes, it's quite high. At a post-pandemic time when most unemployment rates around the world were steadily declining to one figure, the fact that this country's rate is still this high is alarming. It is lower than it was during the pandemic, however, which rose up to 34.6 back in 2021. But nevertheless, this unemployment rate is still high. It's even one of the highest among the G20 countries. And this makes it all the more vital to understand the country's job market.

The Current In-Demand Skills in South Africa

With so many unemployed locals, it's safe to say that the competition to find work in South Africa is fierce. Even Expatica stressed that many businesses in the country would rather hire citizens and residents than import migrants from other countries. With that said, there's still a shortage of people with specific skills here. Since 2019, businesses have found it difficult to find workers skilled in advanced ICT, engineering, executive-level finance, risk management, healthcare, and different languages. So if you possess at least one of them, you might have better chances of landing employment in South Africa.

What To Know About South Africa's Job Market

South Africa's Biggest Sectors

Arguably, the best way to understand the current state of South Africa's job market is to learn about its key sectors. For one thing, mining is the country's biggest industry. South Africa is even the world's largest producer of platinum, a testament to how big of a sector mining really is. And of course, it helps that the territory is home to lots of natural resources. And from those resources, agriculture and food processing have also become two of the key sectors here. Moreover, thanks to its sophisticated structure, finance is also a major industry in South Africa.

The Common Salaries in South Africa

Now, let's talk about salaries in South Africa. Since January 2019, the national minimum wage here has been R20.00 per hour. This allows every worker to earn at least R3,500.00 per 40-hour work week. But it's important to note, however, that this doesn't apply to all workers. Most notably, farm workers only earn R18.00 and domestic helpers earn R15.00 per hour. And overall, non-agriculture workers earn an average of R22,387.00 per month. As for foreign workers in South Africa, their minimum wage is dictated by the sector they're in.

What To Know About South Africa's Job Market

South Africa's Work Culture

Just like how people work in the US, South Africans work eight hours a week. An employee's typical work hours start from 9:00 am to 17:00 (5:00) pm. And if they work overtime, they must be paid 1.5 times more than their normal hourly rate. When it comes to common company structures in South Africa, they follow a typical hierarchal system here. Those in the top and managerial positions hold more power while their subordinates are expected to follow suit. And when it comes to business meetings, workers tend to take on a more informal tone compared to those in other countries.

The Key Labor Laws in South Africa

Perhaps the biggest and main labor law in South Africa is the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA). According to this law, employees can only work up to 12 hours a day and only up to 45 hours a week. If they want to work overtime, they can only do so up to 10 hours a week. As for entitled leaves, each worker gets 21 days per year on top of public holidays. And when it comes to terminating employees, the BCEA has set certain periods for notifying the employee. For those who've worked around six months or less, it's one week. For those who've worked for a year, it's two weeks. And for those who've worked for more than a year, it's four weeks.

What To Know About South Africa's Job Market

As one of the wealthiest countries in the world and having the largest economy on its continent, South Africa's job market is one to watch. Not only should you know about it if you'll be working here, but it's worth learning about too!

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