The purpose of this technical report is to present the background, the theoretical debates, the methodologies and processes leading to the development of the 2018 list of Occupations in High Demand (OIHD) for South Africa.
DHET defines OIHD as those occupations that show relatively strong employment growth, or are experiencing shortages in the labour market. More specifically, occupations are said to be in high demand if they:
• have shown relatively strong employment growth over the past 5 years;
• are currently showing relatively strong employment growth (that is, relatively strong growth over the two years);
• are expected to show relatively strong employment growth in the future;
• have been identified as being in shortage in the labour market; or
• are new and expected to emerge in the near future as a result of innovation, technological advancements and the
development of new industries (for example, the establishment of new occupations in ‘green’ industries).
Numerous reports have cited challenges of skill shortages in the country as bottlenecks in both the production of goods as well as in the provisioning of services within both the public and private sectors. For the government, and more specifically the Post-School Education and Training (PSET) system to respond effectively to the skills needs of the country, it is important to, firstly, understand the nature and extent of skills needs and, secondly, adopt specific interventions that will respond to the skills challenges facing the country. Using a novel methodology adopted after a detailed review of a number of international approaches employed to identify and measure skills and occupational needs, the design of the 2018 OIHD project methodology adopted a hybrid approach where both top-down (statistical) and bottom-up (qualitative) evidence were considered and integrated to identify occupations in high demand. This exercise yielded a list of 129 occupations at the 4-digit Unit Group with 369 6-digit occupations which are currently in high demand or are expected to be in demand in the future.
The project team understood the main purpose of the list as to inform the planning processes of DHET with respect to the post school education and training systems, particularly in relation to enrolment planning, resource allocation, career advice and qualification development. The list is however important for a number of reasons and is also intended for use by other stakeholders to inform their decision making processes. In this case the list may require that users adapt or refine accordingly to their needs.