Key skills shaping SA's digital economy

The demand for full-stack software development skills is expected to remain high. | Freepik

The demand for full-stack software development skills is expected to remain high. | Freepik

Published Apr 25, 2024



AT the start of a new year, candidates typically look for fresh beginnings and dynamic environments. Yet in the recruitment space, we saw the first quarter start at a subdued pace.

This may stem from diverse factors such as the closure of the financial year, candidates anticipating well-deserved bonuses and raises, and a wait-and-see approach post-election.

We are still seeing increased demand for software development (full-stack) skills, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, automation and data integration as well as analytics. I believe there will be a continued focus on these skills for the next two to three years.

Employment shift

My inbox is now filled with candidates ready for a change. Some have been affected by retrenchments and restructuring, and others are seeing their contracts come to an end. I often have career coaching conversations with candidates and provide them with the best tips on how to find new job opportunities, besides using a recruitment agency.

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, in the third quarter of 2023 the number of employed persons increased by 399 000 to 16.7 million, as compared to the second quarter of 2023. Not only have employment levels in the labour market shown some improvement, the volume of actual hours worked has also improved.

We are seeing companies investing in strategies that include recruiting skilled workers, up-skilling current workers, providing more flexible working conditions as well as embracing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

Closeup of programmer man hand typing website script on computer working remote from home. African american hacker worker programming binary code using network security system. Concept of coding

Benefit offerings

Discussions with our candidates so far in 2024 have revealed that there is a massive focus on health, spending more quality time with their families, and creating a lifestyle that suits them. It’s not only about the offer on the table.

About 80% of firms are still doing their recruitment and hiring virtually. This has allowed companies to move quickly and has shortened the time to hire – creating a pleasant candidate experience.

Most are still adopting a hybrid way of working; we are seeing anything between two to four days in the office, with the remainder from home.

There’s still a great focus on health and wellness benefits. Companies need to expand their benefit offerings, as this can be an effective way to attract more candidates - especially for hard-to-fill roles such as developers and other highly skilled tech and digital positions.

There is also a sharp focus on mental health benefits. More employers are providing special emotional and mental health programmes such as mental health apps and yoga, or group training sessions at the office.

As recruitment evolves rapidly, the role of a recruiter remains both demanding and deeply fulfilling. Despite its challenges, we find immense gratification in transforming lives and shaping the trajectory of candidates' careers.

It is a privilege to be part of this dynamic industry, where every connection made holds the potential to make a lasting impact and contribute to the continued growth of individuals and organisations alike.

  • Dodd is a partner at REDi Recruitment