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Skilled Workers Coming Back to South Africa

It seems that that highly skilled people are starting to come back to South Africa after years of working abroad - according to employment figures that were recently released.

According to employment figures releases by Adcorp, since the global crisis that occurred in 2008-2009, about 359 000 highly skilled South Africa citizens have returned home after working in foreign countries.

This large number of people returning home represents 18% of the total of professionals and managers in SA and 12% of the total of graduates.

Loane Sharp (Adcorp labour market economist) said that this indicated that the standard of living in SA stayed relatively high compared to all the other countries where South Africans had been moving too. Some believe that the South Africans who emigrated before 2008 were ever-confident regarding job security in other countries.

According to Adcorp, the South African economy’s need for skilled workers has stayed rather stable over the last 10 years. Because the country has needed more skilled workers, there has been about 829 000 unfilled positions.

Over more or less the same period of time, the South African unemployment rate has stayed relatively constant (around 0.4%). This is compared to the almost 37% for the entire workforce. The average wages for skilled workers has increased from R265 680 per year to R423 680 per year (from 1997 to 2013). In a nutshell, that is an increase of 5.1% per year, which is above average.

Adcorp estimates that the wages of these skilled workers has increased from R112 966 to R423 730 in the same period of time. That then indicates that there has been an increase of 11.2%per year.

The supply of highly skilled workers from other countries has been negligible because of the strict immigration measures the Department of Home Affairs put into place in 2002. The measures became even tighter in 2008 and in 2010.

Sharp went on to say that these figures indicated that SA’s skill shortage is a huge problem and that there are not enough skilled workers in the country. It is for this reason that the restrictions on foreign skilled workers should not be the way they are. South Africa needs people who are skilled even if they are from other countries.

By Robbie Ragless

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