Scarce Skills: Get a Job with These Skills

by Staff Reporter

There’s loads of pressure in high school to start thinking about your future. While most parents think that becoming a doctor, lawyer or accountant is the best game plan, times are changing.

Developing a scarce skill could be your ticket to a bright future. Now, you may be wondering: “What are scarce skills and why should I care?” Don’t worry, we’ll explain. In this article, we reveal exactly what scarce skills are and highlight the top skills in demand in South Africa.

Excited to learn about scarce skills? We know you are! Let’s get started.

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scarce skills

What Are Scarce Skills?

Scarce skills are skills that are in demand by employers—usually because there aren’t enough qualified professionals in that specific field. These skills make it easier for employees in a specific profession to find work.

Developing scarce skills will increase your employability and make you stand out of the crowd. With that said, it’s important to focus on both soft (interpersonal) skills and hard (technical) skills, as they go hand-in-hand. Both these types of skills are invaluable to have when applying for a job that’s in-demand.

Now that you know what scarce skills are, let’s see which ones are in demand in South Africa.

Which Scarce Skills Are In Demand?

South Africa’s economy is on the lookout for skilled professionals across a wide range of fields. Without leaving us all in the dark, the Department of Home Affairs has gone ahead and highlighted the country’s scarce skills list for 2024, which includes occupations like:

What Are the Top 10 Scarce Skills in South Africa?

There are a couple of skills that are more scarce than the rest. According to the Government Gazette Nr 37678, the top ten scarce skills in South Africa are:

These professionals are in high demand, especially in the engineering, IT, finance, and healthcare sectors, due to a shortage of qualified individuals.
A person holding a news camera, highlighting the scarce skills in arts and media.

Which Fields Have Scarce Skills?

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t see your aspiring career on any of the lists above, because there’s more. The National Scarce Skills List typically highlights the top 100 skills in short supply across sectors. These include:
  • arts and media
  • business and management
  • design
  • engineering
  • financial services
  • IT
  • marketing, and
  • healthcare.
Employers are seeking individuals with these scarce skills, so developing one or two of these skills will give you the power to motor your way to the top of a potential employee list.

Why Pursue Scarce Skills?

The youth unemployment rate in South Africa is currently sitting at 45.5%, an increase of 1.3% since last year. With youth employment at an all-time low, it is wise to devise a strategy to avoid unemployment. Developing a scarce skill means you are in demand and have a much better chance of snatching a job.

These skills can open doors to leadership roles and management positions. With a scarce skill, you could even start your own business and offer in-demand services. Plus, many of these skills are needed worldwide, offering chances to work abroad.

A diverse team demonstrating their soft skills.

Which Soft Skills Are in Demand?

Along with the skills mentioned above, which we also call hard skills, you need a couple of soft skills to make the package complete. Employees seek individuals who already have these interpersonal skills as it will save them time, effort and money when it comes to upskilling, so start working on these now. Soft skills in demand are:

  1. Management skills: Employers need people who can take an idea and run with it, deal with a team even when it’s like herding cats and put out any fires using critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  2. Teamwork skills: Being able to compromise for the good of a project instead of letting your ego lead you (into the ditch) is an important quality in an employee.
  3. Communication skills: Practising your active listening skills is just as important as making yourself heard. Listen to understand, not just to reply, and speak to bring about understanding and not to pull rank.
  4. Self-management skills: Nobody likes to be micro-managed, but if you are unable to manage yourself and your time, this is precisely what will happen. Most employers don’t have time to babysit. They want to give an instruction and leave it in your capable hands.

Need More Career Guidance? Try FundiMatch!

We’ve talked a lot about what scarce skills are and why they’re important. But there’s still so much more to learn when it comes to pursuing your dream career. Just knowing what skills are in demand is not enough when it comes to choosing a career suited to you. 

If you’d like to learn more about what career you should be investing all your time and effort in, then be sure to give FundiMatch a try! FundiMatch is a career guidance assessment platform that matches student personalities and aptitudes with the most relevant subjects and career choices. It assesses your skills, attributes and cognitive abilities to match you with a career best suited to your personality.

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