South Africa’s 2021 draft critical skills list has been released

2021 critical skills list

UPDATE: The Department of Home Affairs released a new critical skills list on 2 February 2022.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, published the 2021 Critical Skills List for comment on Thursday, 17 February.

The list’s primary aim is to identify occupations in critical industries in dire need of skilled workers. The list was last updated in 2014.

Members of the public, interested organisations and institutions can submit written comments until 4 pm on 31 March 2021.

What occupations are new on the list?

Occupations must have met three requirements for inclusion on the critical skills list:

  1. Currently be in acute shortage or likely to be in the future, due to its importance for South Africa’s strategic priorities
  2. Require high-level skills or advanced qualification
  3. Require a long lead time to develop a domestic pipeline

This saw occupations such as University Lecturer, General Accountant, Company Secretary, Management Consultant, Investment Manager, Fraud Examiner, Digital Artist, Chef, and Carpenter included in the critical skills list for the first time.

What occupations have been removed?

We suspected that corporate general managers would get taken off South Africa’s next critical skills list, and we were correct, as it turns out.

Some of the other occupations that have been removed from the critical skills list are millwrights, pipefitters, and foreign-language speakers for specialist language support and technical or sales support. The latter could, for instance, be call centre employees.

PhD holders are also not included in the draft critical skills list. PhD holders are included in the Post-Graduate category on the current critical skills list.

The occupations on the 2021 draft critical skills list

The critical skills list includes 126 occupations, but it is important to note that this is not the final list. The Department of Home Affairs will narrow this list down further to ensure that it only includes occupations that are most critical for South Africa’s economic development.

Please also note:

  • The qualifications next to each occupation represent the minimum requirement for obtaining a job position
  • The occupations’ order has no relation to priority but rather follows the ordering of the 6-digit OFO code
  • Next to each occupation is an indication of whether a foreign national applying for a particular occupation requires any specific professional body or licensing approval
  • The colour-coding relates to the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic:
    • Green indicates that the sector within which an occupation is housed is expected to recover relatively quickly from the impact of COVID-19 or show signs of increased labour demand due to COVID-19
    • No highlight indicates that the sector within which an occupation is housed is expected to recover from the impact of COVID-19 in a moderate timeframe, or labour demand is expected to be ambiguously affected by COVID-19, or labour demand is not expected to change due to the impact of COVID-19
    • Red indicates that the sector within which an occupation is housed is expected to recover slowly from the impact of COVID-19, or show signs of decreased labour demand due to COVID-19

Please find South Africa’s draft critical skills list is below. You can stay up to date with news regarding the critical skills list by joining our newsletter.