According to Simplify.hr, recent figures drawn from an analysis of jobs published online on job boards and corporate career sites, reflect that whilst there is a current 10% increase on available job stock compared to 2020 – certain key sectors indicate a downward trend. These include education, hospitality and leisure and finance.
According to Marc Privett, General Manager at Simplify.hr: “The employment arena, by its very nature, is a dynamic and constantly shifting landscape. Throw in a global pandemic, geo-political instability, the rising cost of living – amongst several other factors. The result – a landscape that, whilst proving far more resilient in certain areas than dared hoped for, is also showing a direct correlation between employment opportunities and the behavioural changes that are resulting from the reality of the current world.”
A global report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), that discusses ‘Education in a post-COVID world’, clearly states that, “The pandemic has forced a massive shift away from learning and teaching in traditional settings with physical interactions.” With the long-term social impact of this being an entirely and much-needed separate discussion point, the reality would indicate a consequential impact on the number of traditional education resources required.
Locally, the emergence of many additional options for online or home schooling since the onslaught of Covid-19, including the recently launched UCT Online High School, bears testimony to this. Figures indicate an overwhelming decrease of no less than 35% (end February 2022 compared to end February 2020) in available job stock across this sector.
Another case in point – the hospitality and leisure industry. The sad reality is that our local industry appears to differ from the global picture.
Whilst the ‘Hospitality Global Market Report 2022’ indicates that, “The global hospitality market is expected to grow from $3,952.87 billion in 2021 to $4,548.42 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.1%”, local figures indicate a consistent month-on-month decline in available job stock figures. Recent statistics show a decrease of 32% and 28% end of January and February 2022, when compared to 2020 across hospitality and a staggering decrease of 41% and 39% in leisure for the same periods.
With some of the strictest Covid-19 lockdown regulations worldwide, that saw the total shut down of large sectors of our economy for months on end – including a significant and protracted ban on the sale of alcohol, our local hospitality and leisure industry has been severely crippled.
As the world, and South Africa, continues to ‘open up’ after the devastation of the last two years with a resurgence in travel – we remain hopeful that a resulting positive impact will be felt throughout South Africa’s hospitality and leisure industry, yielding an increase in available employment opportunities.
South Africa’s finance industry – traditionally one of the largest sectors for employment opportunities, has shown either flat or negative growth. Although ‘only’ a decrease of 3% in available job stock (February 2022 vs. February 2020), it is nevertheless surprising with this sector responsible for almost 15% of available job stock across all sectors (January 2019 to end February 2022).
With a “number of key finance and banking jobs that the country has increasingly lost overseas in recent years” , the exodus of these jobs and skills could be, in part, responsible. Whilst said exodus could hopefully create skills development opportunities and new career paths, the concern is that “The Critical Skills List suggests that there are simply not enough experienced professionals to help bridge the skills gap due to the lack of opportunities available for such professionals in the country.” 
“The job market, as with countless other markets, is chiefly driven by supply and demand,” concludes Privett. “Any impact on an industry, that changes the dynamics of that sector, will have a direct knock-on effect on available job stock.
As we begin to move beyond the crushing impact of the global pandemic, the role of government and the private sector is clear. We need a stable and functioning environment conducive to building both business and investor confidence that, in turn, encourages private sector investment and growth. The natural result – that of increased employment opportunities and available job stock across all sectors of our economy.