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Link Your Studies to Job Opportunities : Scarce Skills

You already know that the South African unemployment rate is high because most of us know more than one person who’s unemployed and we know many who had to resort to self-employment when they couldn’t find a job.

Find a Job when Jobs are Scarce

If that concerns you and you want to specifically study a field where you believe you can excel and have job security, consider taking a scarce skills approach.

This is when you do research to specifically identify which industries have unfilled job vacancies.

The Department of Labour and the various SETAs (Sectoral Education and Training Authorities) publish this information.

How to Secure a Job in today’s Difficult Economy?

The Department of Labour puts it bluntly:
The answer is to study for a scarce skill!

A scarce skill is a job that requires a qualification or skill for which there are too few people in South Africa, resulting in a skills gap or shortage.

A scarcity can arise if the occupation is new and very few people have studied to fill these posts. It’s also possible that people chose not to study for the course and a scarcity developed in the job market. It could even be that the industry has grown so fast that it couldn’t produce specialists fast enough in various parts of the country. In South Africa, scarcity can also be in terms of equity, for example too few women enter into a specific career.

International Scarce Skills

If you study something scarce skills related, not only will you find it easier to secure work locally, but you may even find yourself desirable on the international market.

Taking a scarce skills approach thereby opens you up to a range of local and international markets. In addition, this approach could mean that not only will you be able to find a job more easily, but that you could be paid better and progress to the top of your career path faster.

Which jobs are scarce?

Take a look at some of these posts to read about skill shortages in different industries:

The Department of Labour draws up a National Scarce Skills List every year. The SETAs do research and consult with stakeholders in the sector of the economy that they are responsible for and then send the list to the Department.

The National Scarce Skills List can be found on the Department of Labour’s website ( use the search engine and type “scarce skills”).  The DoL also has career counsellors who can assist you with your career choices.

Please share this post! 🙂

Useful Reading

What Are Soft and Hard Skills? What Skills do Employers Look For?

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