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2024 Job Market Forecast: Is it looking good or bad?

As we find ourselves firmly settling into the transformative year of 2024, the South African job market continues to demonstrate a mix of challenges and opportunities. This report outlines the top 15 most in-demand jobs, providing insights into key industries and salary expectations. Additionally, we explore strategic insights for navigating the evolving job landscape and offer valuable tips for job seekers in 2024.

In its latest Salary Survey, professional recruitment firm Robert Walters sheds light on the evolving landscape of the South African job market for 2024. The report provides not only salary data for various professional positions but also unveils broader trends across key industries such as banking, financial services, legal, human resources, and information technology.

Current Scenario of the job market

The report reveals a significant demand for skilled individuals across sectors, with South African companies actively seeking talent. However, this does not necessarily translate into an abundance of job opportunities for professionals, as the survey indicates low to medium demand for specific skills. This competitive job market is reflective of the economic challenges that South Africa has faced over the past decade, limiting expansion and job creation.

Professional Mobility and Salary Trends in the job market

The survey indicates a high degree of professional mobility, with up to 46% of professionals expressing a desire to switch jobs in 2024. Most professionals are spending only 1.8 to 2.2 years at a single company, highlighting a dynamic and fluid job market.

To retain valuable skills, companies are willing to offer higher salaries and increases above inflation. About 30% of businesses surveyed stated that they were giving pay raises in 2024, with 23% to 36% of employees expecting a salary hike this year.

High-Paying Jobs

The survey identifies over 50 professional jobs in South Africa with an end-range earning potential of R1.5 million a year or more, out of which 24 positions have an earning potential exceeding R2 million. The earning potential is closely tied to experience in the field and the size of the companies professionals work for. Top earners typically have over ten years of experience, although exceptions exist, such as general managers or executives who can earn over R2 million with four to seven years’ experience.

Current Trends Shaping the Job Market

The South African job market in 2024 is witnessing several noteworthy trends:

1. Technology and Digital Transformation: The rapid advancement of technology is reshaping industries, creating demand for IT, data science, AI, and cybersecurity professionals.

2. Renewable Energy and Sustainability: South Africa is making strides in the renewable energy sector, leading to job opportunities in project management, environmental engineering, and green finance.

3. Healthcare and Biotechnology: The emphasis on healthcare and biotechnology is creating demand for healthcare professionals, biotechnologists, and pharmaceutical experts.

4. Remote Work and Flexibility: The adoption of remote work, accelerated by the pandemic, has become a permanent feature, offering new opportunities for work-life balance.

5. E-commerce and Logistics: The rise of e-commerce is reshaping the retail landscape, leading to increased demand for professionals in e-commerce management and logistics.

6. Financial Technology (Fintech): Fintech is a growing sector, with opportunities in blockchain technology, financial analytics, and digital banking.

7. Impact of Global and Local Economic Factors: Economic conditions, both global and local, play a pivotal role in shaping the job market, influencing job availability and demand.

Skills in High Demand

Certain skills are particularly sought after in South Africa:

1. Information Technology: With the growth of data-related industries, IT professionals are in high demand.

2. Banking/High Finance: Financial skills are crucial, given the presence of major financial firms in business hubs.

3. Languages: Strong language skills, especially in legal, marketing, accounting, education, and publishing sectors, are valued.

4. Computing/Software: Software development skills are increasingly essential in the evolving tech market.

5. Engineering: Solid engineering skills are sought after, particularly in infrastructure and environmental sectors.

6. Medicine/Nursing: Healthcare professionals, especially nurses, are vital, considering the ongoing global health challenges.

7. Marketing: Marketing skills, including data analysis and product promotion, are consistently in demand.

8. Customer Service: In times of economic rebound, customer service professionals play a key role in various sectors.

Top 15 In-Demand Jobs

1. Supply Chain Manager

  • Average Annual Salary: R750,000
  • Job Description: Overseeing the movement of materials and products in South Africa’s supply chain industry, these roles remain vital for local, national, and global markets.

2. Translator

  • Average Annual Salary: R275,000
  • Job Description: Language skills are highly valued, making translators essential for international business connections across various industries.

3. Software Engineer

  • Average Annual Salary: R600,000
  • Job Description: With universal demand, software engineers enjoy flexible schedules and ample opportunities for career advancement in South Africa.

4. Agricultural Engineer

  • Average Annual Salary: R650,000
  • Job Description: Given the flourishing agriculture industry in South Africa, agricultural engineers play a crucial role in sustainable farming practices.

5. Data Scientist

  • Average Annual Salary: R550,000
  • Job Description: Utilising machine learning technologies, data scientists organise information for start-ups and organisations, contributing to data-driven decision-making.

6. Accountant

  • Average Annual Salary: R350,000
  • Job Description: Accountants handle various accounting tasks, providing tax advice, payroll, and financial assistance to clients.

7. Health & Safety Manager

  • Average Annual Salary: R275,000
  • Job Description: Supervisory roles ensuring workplace safety, a critical function as businesses grow across South Africa.

8. Lawyer

  • Average Annual Salary: R750,000
  • Job Description: Providing essential legal services, lawyers specialising in criminal law, property transactions, and contract law are in high demand.

9. Structural Engineer

  • Average Annual Salary: R450,000
  • Job Description: In-demand roles overseeing infrastructure development, including power plants, dams, highways, and bridges.

10. Registered Nurse

  • Average Annual Salary: R300,000
  • Job Description: High demand for nurses in both private and public healthcare facilities, driven by shortages experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

11. Front End Web Developer

  • Average Annual Salary: R425,000
  • Job Description: Growing demand for talented web developers in South Africa’s expanding tech industry.

12. Office Administrator

  • Average Annual Salary: R350,000
  • Job Description: Key contributors to a company’s structure, handling tasks such as hiring, training, and business coordination.

13. Proofreader

  • Average Annual Salary: R375,000
  • Job Description: Versatile career opportunities in various industries, proofreaders ensure accuracy in documents, influencing the professionalism of businesses.

14. Investment Advisor

  • Average Annual Salary: R400,000
  • Job Description: High finance roles experiencing a boom in South Africa, demanding strong number-crunching skills.

15. Secondary School Teacher

  • Average Annual Salary: R250,000
  • Job Description: Despite challenges, demand for secondary school teachers remains high, making education a popular and appreciated profession.

Trouble for Global Economies in 2024 – South Africa Included

Global Economic Challenges:

  • Experts predict a tough year globally with sluggish economic growth, a worsening debt crisis, extreme weather, and conflicts, impacting South Africa’s economic climate.

South Africa’s Economic Hurdles:

  • Challenges include an ongoing electricity crisis, high unemployment, low labour force participation, high external debt, and rising interest rates, constraining access to international capital markets.

Debt Sustainability Challenges:

  • High debt burden and maturing Eurobonds in 2024 contribute to fiscal pressure. Structural vulnerabilities like weak taxation frameworks and narrow tax bases hinder fiscal policy effectiveness.


As we embark on the journey through 2024, the South African job market presents both challenges and opportunities. Adapting to technological advancements, embracing sustainability, and staying attuned to the evolving economic landscape will be crucial for professionals and employers alike. The pursuit of in-demand skills and a proactive approach to career development will position individuals for success in this dynamic job market. South Africa’s economic outlook in 2024 is influenced by global trends, geopolitical developments, and domestic challenges – Chief economist Annabel Bishop forecasts South Africa’s economic growth at 1.0% y/y in 2024, citing potential interest rate cuts, lower inflation, and infrastructure improvements. Adapting to change, leveraging growth opportunities, and staying informed are crucial for professionals navigating this dynamic landscape.

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