South Africa’s skills shortages are widely regarded as a key factor preventing the achievement of targeted growth rates. There is some dispute as to the nature and extent of these shortages, given that the country also has a large pool of unemployed graduates. The case studies presented in this monograph explore the question of shortage in nine key professions and trades and find evidence of skills scarcity in most fields.
Drawing on the skills of scholars and expert consultants throughout South Africa, the monograph provides important insights into the reasons for these shortages and surpluses, not only in relation to local the context but also in relation to the international market for knowledge and skills, in which South African qualifications are highly prized.
The monograph is based on a study of sector specific research and related skills requirements commissioned by the South African Department of Labour in 2006. It formed part of a wider research project related to the National Skills Development Strategy and the National Industrial Policy Framework of 2007, for which the Human Sciences Research Council led a research consortium comprising the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town and the Sociology of Work Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Vital for planners and policy-makers in higher education, this report will also be of interest to economists and sociologists as well as anyone involved in career guidance and mentorship of prospective students.