Jobs in South Africa

by Jose Marc Castro on August 8, 2007

South Africa is the continent’s largest economy.  Half a million new jobs were created in just one year and 1.6 million jobs over a five-year period.  The trade industry, which employs more than three million people, accounts for 24 % of new jobs; the service industry, which employs 2.3 million people, accounts for 18% and manufacturing, with its 1.7 million labor force, accounts for 13.6%. Unemployment dipped slightly from 26.7% in 2005 to 25.5% in 2006. 

Jobs in South Africa

Job generation remains slow and unable to keep up with the national rate of growth and development.  However, many business executives expect the employment figures (as well as export sales and profitability) to improve this year.  Many companies plan to invest additional capital in machineries and plants. South Africa retains an optimistic view of the future. The optimism is fueled by the country’s rich natural resources (including diamonds, gold and other metals), a diversified economy, the most developed infrastructure in the African continent, and  the economic boost the country will receive from the Soccer World Cup Games in 2010.

Moving to South Africa

You can consult the non-profit Company for Immigration for assistance on applications for visas, residence permits and citizenship, accommodations, educational opportunities, insurance and financial matters, medical services, translation services, employment, and any other concerns. The government admits that the country needs skilled labor power to the tune of 1.1 million persons by 2010. It is open to people settling permanently in South Africa.

If you want to immigrate to South Africa, you can contact the South African Department of Home Affairs, head office of the Department or the Company for Immigration for more information. The Company for Immigration will facilitate coordination between immigrants, would-be immigrants, and government. Immigrants may be accepted as citizens after five years of permanent residency in South Africa. South African citizens are allowed dual citizenship as long as they get the Department of Home Affairs’ written permission to do so.

Immigrants are allowed to bring household goods and used equipment necessary for the practice of their professions into South Africa duty-free. If you are going to import a foreign vehicle, you will have to apply at the South African Bureau of Standards.  Most students attend government schools although there are private schools run by churches or private corporations. As an immigrant, you may consult the Company for Immigration for advice on your children’s schooling.

Typical Job Prospects in South Africa

South Africa has more than enough unskilled and semi-skilled workers, and will hardly welcome immigrants who belong to these categories. However, skilled workers who are in short supply are encouraged to enter the country, especially by employers who want to relocate or establish new offices in South Africa.  There is a shortage of senior managers in the public sector. The vacancy rate ranges from 60% in the Department of Foreign Affairs to 32% in provincial housing departments to 8% in the Department of Health.

South Africa has already lost many professionals such as nurses and teachers to countries like the UK and the USA. South African will need even more talent, with the amount of construction and other projects that are preparations for the Soccer World Cup Games in 2010. Official statistics indicate that over the past decade the greatest mobility of highly skilled people, both into and out of South Africa, has been among those in education, followed by engineers and architects and artisans. If you have the skills mentioned above, maybe South Africa should be your destination.

Typical Salaries and Benefits in South Africa

South Africa has very strict labor legislation and most kinds of employment are subject to minimum wage requirements. This even applies to domestic workers. Agricultural farm workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R650 (US$90) per month if they work more than 27 hours a week. They are not allowed to work more than 45 hours a week.  The salary may be adjusted if the inflation rate reaches 10% and more. Food and living quarters may be counted as part of the salary. (One SA rand = 14 US cents)

General workers that are classified as Grade One employees in urban areas will earn R11.09 (US$1.55) per hour.  Artisans who are on Grade 9 will be paid R26.21 (US$3.66) per hour. Employees will also receive bonuses for a period of three years, which go up from 15 days in 2007 to 16 days in 2008 and 2009.

A level 1 public servant earns about R35,000 (US$4,900) a year.  On the other hand, a director general receives R67,000 (US$9,308) a year. Teachers’ basic salaries will increase from 99,540 to 114,423 (US$15,690) on January 2008, plus they will receive benefits such as housing, medical aid and pension. A principal on level 10 with five year’s experience will go from 109,962 to 126,067 (U$17,640), also excluding benefits. A   nurse on level 6 will get a raise from 78,477 to R125,942 (US$17,640) excluding other benefits. These new salary scales (which will be implemented July 2007 or January 2008)  indicate government’s commitment to attracting and retaining skills in the identified needed occupations. (One rand =  0.14 US cents)

Basic Data on Taxes in South Africa

South African residents pay taxes on their global income while non-residents only pay their South African resource income. South African source income includes salaries and wages, fees, rent from properties located in the country and interest from loans. In March 2005, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) published a guide to taxation for foreign residents of South Africa in order to help clarify the tax position of expatriate workers following the switch from a source-based tax system to a residence-based regime in 2002.  Under the ‘physical presence’ test used to determine liability for South African taxes, those who are residents of the country for more than 549 days in a three-year period will be taxed on their worldwide income. They will also be liable for tax in South Africa if resident in the country for more than 91 days in each of the three years

High Demand Jobs in South Africa

South Africa suffers from a great shortage in skills in the following: engineering, ICT and education. Potential  immigrants will find that they can obtain work permits so much easier if they possess these skills.

Immigration and Visa Issues in South Africa

When you enter South Africa, you must have a valid passport that covers the period of your stay in the country and a valid visa. The Department of Home Affairs website will assist you in getting the visa. A visa allows you to proceed to a South African port of entry. A temporary residence permit will be issued to you at the port of entry. It replaces your visa, and regulates the duration and purpose of your stay in South Africa. If you are required to have a visa or permit, it is advised to apply for your visa at least four weeks BEFORE your departure for South Africa, and await the outcome of your application before departing.

Best Job Locations in South Africa

South Africa’s IT sector is growing rapidly and is considered one of the top ten emerging markets for computer companies. Nearly three quarters of IT workers are under the age of 35, and 43 percent of them have been in IT for fewer than five years. IT professionals enjoy higher-than-average salaries, low barriers to entry, and a relatively short training period. Currently, there is a shortage of skilled IT workers in South Africa. Many companies offer on-the-job IT training programs; some people enrol in certification
courses before applying for jobs. Of those who hold diplomas or degrees, most come from an engineering background, and computer-engineering degree programs are springing up nationwide.

Find Jobs via Websites in South Africa

You can go to the websites of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the Federation of Unions of South Africa, Soroptomist International Pretoria and Women’s Net. You can contact various chambers of commerce in every locality and of course the Company on Immigration. Immigrants can send their CVs to companies. There is the Job Navigator South Africa and of course job advertisements in newspapers and government sponsored labor centers in various towns.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Raj May 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Hii I wanted to know how to get visa and job in south africa.


chriven June 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm

hi all. i want a job in south africa in I.T or Aministration or anything pls email [email protected]


Joji Ramos November 3, 2010 at 8:20 am

Hi, i am very interested to have job in south africa…I will accept any job that will commensurate to my qualifaication….I am a graduate of Bachelor of science in commerce major management… I have my ample experienced for clerical works…Thanks ,….hope to hear from you soon.


Lopel Dumangas November 3, 2010 at 8:23 am

Hi i am Lofel Dumangas….wants to work south africa as rigger….Almost 5 years experienced as rigger,,,,,,,,,[email protected]


miles January 13, 2011 at 10:59 am

hi i would love to open up my own firm in south Africa in an installation company for alarm systems ,sound and lighting . email [email protected]


abdul rauf January 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm

hi i want to work in south africa i have a b tech digree in mechnical technology .please tell me how can i get a visa and job in south africa my email address is [email protected]


Jeeva February 2, 2011 at 3:18 am

South Africa interests me alot – any job vacancies – basically in Administration sector, am a Singaporean


mutebi fred February 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm

AM FRED form uganda i have deplomatie in marketing i wish to get a job in south africa


Jodie April 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Hi, I am a UK citizen and I have fallen in love with Durban. I have many friends there and would like to move there for a while. I have extensive experience in Admin, Recruitment, HR, Beauty Therapy and Charity Work. What are my chances of landing a job and getting a work permit?


BONAMY BUCHHOLZ July 15, 2011 at 4:23 am



Datum November 16, 2012 at 8:25 am

The recent mine unrest is sure to cause severe job losses and cause a dent in the economy. unemployment is already a major problem in south Africa


milon chowdhury August 9, 2015 at 6:29 pm

I want to work in south Africa. pls pls pls help me.


Kamran January 1, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Hay I looking to work in South Africa PLz Plz PLz


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