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Making simple sense of scarce skills in SA

Along with the lamplighter, the human alarm clock and the milkman, the world has seen a fair number of jobs succumbing to extinction in recent years. Whilst traditional job titles, such as undertakers, teachers, doctors, nurses, and politicians will remain for a considerable number of years to come, a significant evolutionary shift has taken place in employability in a bid to adapt to new technologies, methods of communication and information sharing and ongoing globalisation.
Making simple sense of scarce skills in SA

On 3 February this year, the South African Department of Home Affairs published a report that comprised a list of at least 27 New Critical Skills which the country needs ( In a nutshell, zoologists, managers (of at least three key industries: communication, enterprise solutions, supply and distribution) and educators appear to be the most in demand, along with finance professionals and of course, information technology and cyberspace specialists.

Essentially, it appears that whilst the evolving world is concerned about food security and transportation, the planet will continue to be in need of financial experts (auditors, economists, treasurers, and accountants) who can help to maximise income and save on rising operating costs in both the private and public sectors.

Techno-savvy and artisan related jobs will remain a high priority whilst Senior Phase and FET Phase teachers are seen to be in great demand. Staying with education, post-graduate studies have seen the removal of doctoral degrees from the New Critical Skills list for 2022 ( The interesting aspect of this lies in the practicality that jobs appear to espouse in the post-modern age, with minimal focus on traditional philosophical methodologies of past ages. Whilst humanity may still appreciate and ogle over someone’s title as a 'doctor', a lift mechanic appears to be a more welcoming pragmatism in a technocentric world.

Modern times have also called for workers to be far more multi-skilled in their line of work to minimise workplace disruptions and redundancy and to enhance staff efficiency and business operations. Basically, employers require their workforce to be a lot more 'flexible and adaptable' when it comes to their specific industry (Accipio, 2022). Whilst automation continues to steal away non-skilled and semi-skilled employment opportunities, an essential requirement to help increase job placement and security should compel school-leavers to pursue at least a certificate, diploma, or degree as a form of post-matric studies.

Along with the flexibility requirement in employability and recruitment processes, the same goes for the kind of qualification one may consider applying for – less specialised qualifications and more open-ended or dual-purpose study programmes that offer more than one option for employment are far more ideal and practical.

The question that begs some sort of an answer from the working class is ‘what is the next step in your career?’ Whether planning towards it, just starting off, developing it, or closely heading towards retirement, there’s a part to be played by everyone in the world of work.

Bibliography: 2022. Multi-Skilling. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 May 2022]. 2022. Department of Home Affairs – Critical Skills List & Checklist. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 May 2022].
IBN Immigration Solutions. 2022. Critical Skills Work Visa South Africa. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 May 2022].

Full list of the 27 New Critical Skills (adapted from

  • Zoologist
  • Director (enterprise organisation, medium or larger)
  • Supply and distribution manager
  • Chief information officer
  • Call or contact centre manager
  • Mineralogist
  • Aeronautical engineering technologist
  • Naval architect
  • Biomedical engineer
  • Agricultural engineer technologist
  • Multimedia designer
  • Nurse Educator
  • FET Phase school teacher Grades 10–12 (STEM subjects only)
  • Senior Phase school teacher Grades 8–10 (STEM subjects only)
  • Tax professional
  • Forensic accountant
  • Policy analyst
  • Corporate treasurer
  • Internal auditor
  • Occupational instructor (air-traffic space)
  • Market research analyst
  • Multimedia specialist
  • Economist
  • Air traffic controller
  • Metal machinist
  • Lift mechanic
  • Transportation electrician

MSC Artisan Academy
The MSC Artisan Academy is a technical training centre with campuses located in East London and Gauteng. Students are engaged in practical learning and our teaching conditions simulate those that the students will face in industry.

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