25 in-demand jobs in South Africa – and the skills companies are looking for heading into 2022


Professional recruitment group Michael Page published a report on the prevailing hiring trends heading into 2022, 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.

Although South Africa has the highest unemployment rate in the world, the group experienced a sharp increase in recruitment assignments compared to the previous year for mid-to-senior management level positions during Q1 2021, and this pace continued throughout the year, said Paul Newman, operating director for Page Group South Africa.

“This would indicate that businesses are in need of strong leadership and skilled candidates with considerable experience to drive business recovery during these challenging and uncertain times,” he said.

“Almost all the industries and sectors showed a positive trend in terms of hiring activity, however, the Healthcare and Technology sectors have been the most active and we anticipate for it to continue in the medium term. Our Technical teams – Engineering, Manufacturing and Mining – also demonstrated momentum.”

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

  1. Head of engineering
  2. Project director
  3. Quality assurance/quality control manager
  4. Health, safety and environment manager
  5. Product supervisor

Michael Page said candidates in this sector are hesitant to switch jobs, while organisations are considering the economic consequences of the pandemic. “Candidates are finding security in what they have, especially if their current employers provide them with strong benefits packages with perks like medical insurance and pension,” it said.

In-demand skill sets here include:

  • Quality assurance / Quality control – There is a big drive by organisations to develop superior products that cater to their customers’ very specific needs; thus having a strong QA/QC partner is imperative to achieving customer-centricity, keeping teams motivated, and continuously performing at a high level.
  • Project management – These positions require specific project management courses or affiliations, and there is a low supply of talent with the right level of expertise, said Michael Page.
  • Maintenance and prevention – This experience is critical within engineering environments: preventing downtime or losing productivity is the major focus for incumbents of these positions.

Finance and Accounting

  1. Commercial finance manager/controller
  2. Tax-oriented roles
  3. Finance manager
  4. Head of finance
  5. Accountant

Michael Page said that employers are looking for candidates who have a combination of technical accounting skills as well as commercial experience.

In-demand skill sets here include:

  • FP&A/Commercial finance – This is required for full planning and analysis of the market/competitors.
  • Africa market experience – Regional experience is increasingly required in order for the responsibility of multiple countries to be grouped under 1 portfolio in the interest of streamlining.
  • Technical accounting – This experience helps companies ensure adherence to accurate financial processes and standards.

Procurement and Supply Chain

  1. Supply chain planning
  2. Demand planner
  3. Procurement manager
  4. Logistics manager
  5. Plant supervisors

“The supply chain industry is globally under a lot of pressure, making it difficult to find candidates who have the right level of experience or the appetite to take on these challenging/ demanding positions,” Michael Page said.

In-demand skill sets here include:

  • Demand Planning – With consumer needs constantly changing, demand planning is becoming an always-on exercise. This can also have a ripple effect in production planning.
  • Supply Chain Planning – Candidates with supply chain planning experience are in demand because of the criticality of verification and planning around suppliers who can meet customer needs in terms of capital, quality, etc.
  • Warehouse Management – This has always been an in-demand skill as the operations of the warehouse has a direct impact on production planning, which in turn has far-reaching effects on the greater business as well.

Sales and Marketing

  1. Business development manager/ Technical sales
  2.  Marketing manager
  3. E-Commerce key accounts manager
  4. Strategy transformation manager
  5. Brand manager

Michael Page pointed to increasing demand for technical sales professionals for startup/new businesses in South Africa. “But the challenge in placing for these positions is with regards to the salaries or any other niche requirements specified by the employer,” it said.

The group said that firms are also running into a problem with BBBEE regulations.

“Even though there is great talent out there, many companies require to hire talent with a diversity specification, and this aspect has more often than not been non-negotiable. We have also found that the salaries of many marketing roles have not been as per the benchmark considering experience and skills.”

In-demand skill sets here include:

  • Adaptability – More traditional marketing roles are becoming digital and eCommerce-focused, as many companies in South Africa pre-Covid were quite far behind in their online presence when compared to international markets. There has also been a high influx of new businesses entering the South Africa market in 2022 with recruitment needs focusing on business development managers, sales managers, and heads of sales who have been technically inclined or required industry-specific experience.
  • Curiosity – The best marketing individuals are those that are often the most curious as they will always look for the most creative ways to solve problems and work on important projects, said Michael Page. This also plays an important role in a highly competitive market where you need to stay ahead.
  • Warehouse management – Where previously most marketing and sales activities were driven by strategies designed out of the regional offices either based in the UAE and/or Europe, with markets evolving, it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide a strategy for a region if you are not close to the market, the recruitment specialist said.


  1. Cloud computing
  2. Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  3. Data scientist
  4. Software development
  5. Cybersecurity

Michael Page said that the major issue currently facing this sector is a shortage of STEM skills. “Increased effort needs to be undertaken to modernize and develop sustainable education programmes with an emphasis on innovation, science, and technology,” it said.

In-demand skill sets here include:

  • Cloud computing (AWS, Azure, DevOps, Docker, Kubernetes) – There has been a rise in demand for talent with this experience ever since Covid-19 forced companies to adopt a work-from-home model with employees accessing platforms like Office 365, Microsoft Teams, and other work and collaborative tools which are hosted on the cloud.
  • Data analysis & insights – Companies are moving beyond just reporting on data and management information to also using data for insights, which is essentially the commercialization of that data. Companies are developing their capabilities to make more data-driven decisions, and hence the demand for talent with Ddata-related expertise.
  • Cyber security – With more people working from home, cloud networks are becoming security targets. Cybersecurity is an issue of critical importance and companies are prioritising hiring talent with the expertise of putting safeguarding measures in place.

Read: Industry warns against December lockdown restrictions for South Africa


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