Jobs in South Africa

The unemployment rate in South Africa is very high, currently standing at 25%. In the countryside that figure may be as high as a staggering 70%. Fortunately for you, these figures mostly relate to the masses of unskilled workers in the country. A large number of South Africa’s skilled workforce has left to work in the US and the UK, creating a large skills shortage. If you are skilled then South Africa will welcome you with open arms.

The difficulties

To work in South Africa you need a work permit. If you are granted permanent residency then a work permit will be included. As with most countries you are far more likely to be accepted for a permit if you have already found a job. Foreign nationals are allowed to work and live in South Africa through working permits for a fixed period, depending on the job offer. Initially, a working permit is awarded for only one year, but this agreed-upon period may be extended if the employment position continues. The career paths that offer the most options in South Africa are Teaching, Engineering, medical staff and IT specialists. Due to South Africa not being as popular with expats as other countries such as Australia or Canada there are more opportunities available for immigrants.

Pay and conditions

The average working week in South Africa is 40 to 45 hours. The pay is a lot lower than what you would expect to be paid back in the UK, so be prepared to for a lower wage than what you are used to.

National holidays

Here are South Africa’s national holiday dates.

New Year’s Day (1 January), Human Rights Day (21 March), Good Friday (22 April),

Family Day (Easter Monday – 25 April), Freedom Day (27 April), Worker’s Day (1 May),

Youth Day (16 June), National Women’s Day (9 August), Heritage Day (24 September),

Day of Reconciliation (16 December), Christmas Day (25 December), Day of Goodwill (26 December).

Top tips for finding work

Search sources of local media such as newspapers. The majority of jobs in SA are listed in the local papers.

Use a recruiting agency. South Africa has many such organisations to help people into work, but be aware that there are many fraudulent ones who will try and charge you exorbitant amounts for their services.

Networking is invaluable. Join an Expat forum to get in contact with expats who have already taken the plunge and learn from their experience, they may even point you to an available job.

Research the area you’re hoping to move to thoroughly. Unemployment is rife in certain areas of SA, so be sure to avoid those.

Have your degree and certificates ready to send to an employer, most will want visual proof that you have the qualifications you claim to have.