Top 10 in-demand careers in South Africa

Joe McGoldrick
02.08.2022·9 min read

After several challenging years, the world is finally beginning to bounce back. Economies worldwide⁠—including South Africa’s—are steadily returning to their old rhythms. Recovery and growth are creating new opportunities for people looking to enter the workforce or switch careers. Here are ten of the best careers in South Africa if you are looking for a new job.

Careers in demand in South Africa

Software Engineer

These professionals are responsible for designing and implementing software solutions. They apply engineering principles in devising software that meets the demands of their clients. They are also responsible for supervising development, meeting clients, and assessing their needs. They implement a systematic approach in a software development life cycle.

Network Administrator

Network Admins are responsible for running and maintaining IT networks. While they do set up networks, the bulk of their work is maintenance. They identify and troubleshoot problems with either software or hardware. They check the system for any vulnerabilities. They also upgrade and replace equipment when needed. These professionals ensure that your IT infrastructure is as efficient and secure as possible.

Data Scientist

In today’s world, businesses and other organizations are working with huge amounts of data. Data Scientists are professionals who deal with these data and process them to make useful information. They use statistics and computer science techniques to look at data and extract any actionable information. This includes organizing, cleaning, and analyzing data.

Health and Safety Manager

Nowadays, a huge deal of importance is given to workplace health and safety. Gone are the days when serious bodily harm and even fatalities were a regular occurrence. These days we have stricter workplace safety laws in place. Health and Safety Managers ensure that these laws are fully implemented to make the work environment as safe as possible.


Keeping your financials in check and well accounted for is a must for any organization. Every penny spent and earned must be recorded and logged. This is where Accountants play a considerable role. They make sure that the company’s financial books are in order, right down to the smallest expense. They also help companies comply with the country’s many tax laws.

Agricultural Engineer

Agriculture plays a huge part in the South African economy. And as in many sectors, it too faces many challenges and difficulties. Agricultural Engineers address these problems by applying engineering principles as well as other techniques. They tackle things like irrigation, energy and power, the environmental impact of agriculture waste, and food storage.


In a nutshell, Lawyers are advocates for their clients. They have their well-being in mind, especially those concerning legal matters. They represent them in court and other legal forums. They also exercise certain actions for their clients, such as giving legal advice, executing wills, and drafting legally sound contracts.

Business Consultant

The primary role of a Business Consultant is to provide solutions for businesses. They take the company’s goals and propose actions to make them a reality. Their work includes improving business processes, introducing new methods, and changing and upgrading obsolete practices.

Hospital Administrator

While doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are the face of the hospital, the Hospital Administrator makes sure business operations run smoothly. They ensure that health professionals have proper credentials and training, design and enforce hospital policies, and work with local government and other institutions for their programs.


These airline professionals are the main reason we have air travel’s convenience today. They fly and operate airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft for personal, commercial, or military use. They perform various specialized roles from commercial and chartered flights, search and rescue, wildfire response, and other military functions.

Courses that are in demand in South Africa

Information Technology

IT is a discipline that essentially uses both software and hardware to provide solutions. This is an umbrella term that touches on several disciplines such as computer science, computer engineering, information, systems, and networking. A degree in IT prepares you to be a multi-disciplinary professional that is able to excel in various fields where technology plays a key part.


Essentially, engineering is the application of math and science to build, produce, or manufacture pretty much anything. This could be buildings, bridges, cars, new chemicals, or technology. A degree in engineering prepares you not only for the specific field you have chosen but also to think like an engineer. It equips you to apply engineering techniques and concepts to solve various problems.

Business Administration

A business administration degree, like Nexford University’s Master of Business Administration, prepares you for the many challenges of running and operating a business. It takes you through the many aspects of company management, such as marketing, administration, and finance. It teaches you relevant skills to help you succeed in your specialization.

Best paying jobs in South Africa


Weighing the financial risks of specific actions is key to a business’s success. It has to balance enough risk-taking to encourage growth without making too much that jeopardizes the business. This balancing act ensures that a company is sustainable at all times. Actuaries are professionals that specialize in these cases. They make an average of R 6,900,000 yearly.


These medical professionals specialize in operating on patients to treat them. They deal with anything between cuts and wounds to broken bones, tumors, and other major operations. Trauma surgeons specifically specialize in urgent and emergency cases that need immediate operations. They earn an average of R2,525,916 annually.

Management Consultant

It goes without saying that effective leadership is a must for any organization to be successful. Management Consultants are professionals that help make this so. They assess, identify pain points, and offer solutions. They help companies by pointing out inefficiencies as well as promoting growth through key changes. Annually, they earn R 413,186 on average.

Most in-demand engineering jobs in South Africa

Civil Engineering

Infrastructure is what Civil Engineers are made for. They conceptualize, design, build, repair, and maintain all infrastructure projects. These include roads, tunnels, sewage, bridges, buildings, and other structures. They ensure that every project complies with all building regulations nationally and locally.

Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineers deal with machines. They design, fabricate, and test mechanical devices and tools for various applications. They work in various fields and industries such as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, and shipbuilding, among others. They are responsible for developing products that are durable, safe, useful, and effective. Basically, any mechanical product has⁠—in one way or another⁠—had a Mechanical Engineer involved.

Industrial Engineer

Efficiency is the name of the game for Industrial Engineers. They are expected to improve production processes as well as improve the design of products. They strive to reduce costs, manpower, and energy costs while retaining functionality for every product they design. They use Engineering principles as well as Math and a bit of social engineering to achieve this.

IT jobs in demand in South Africa

Software Development

In this day and age, computers and other electronics play a huge part in our lives. To run these, they need software. Software Developers are tasked with writing, maintaining, troubleshooting, and upgrading software. They are equipped with the skill to design software based on whatever application it may be needed.

Web Developer

Web developers are the primary movers of the Internet. They design, maintain and upgrade websites and other related technologies. They use the latest in world standards to provide a hassle-free user experience for people visiting their sites as much as possible. They are also tasked with improving a website’s load speeds and responsiveness across many devices.

Data Analysis

Data processing and analysis are important aspects of running a business these days. Data Analysts process raw data to gain actionable insights. They make their recommendations based on these insights through detailed presentations. Data Analysts use various tools from many disciplines like Computer Science, Statistics, and Data Science, among others.

Business careers in demand in South Africa

Finance Manager

Taking care of finances is important for any organization. A Finance Managers’ job is to advise senior officials on how to account for this. They give recommendations on how to maximize profits and minimize costs. They also prepare to handle a company’s investments and other ventures. They also make detailed long-term financial plans for the long term.

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers are responsible for developing strategies and campaigns that increase demand for a product or service. They conceptualize campaigns and manage teams to turn their ideas into reality. They measure the effectiveness of marketing and use data to guide future plans. They also serve as the bridge between management and the team, ensuring that the campaigns align with company goals.

Project Manager

Every project needs someone to lead and coordinate. This is the primary job of Project managers. They are in charge of ideating, planning, supervising, and coordinating a project to its completion. They are also responsible for managing team members and fostering an atmosphere of collaboration. By the end of the project, they also head the reports, including suggestions for similar future projects.

Skills needed for high-paying jobs

Getting great careers in South Africa is relatively easy provided that you have the essential soft skills under your belt. Here are some skills that are necessary if you want a successful career.

Time Management

In today’s fast-paced world, being on top of all your tasks and knowing how to manage your schedule is a must. Good time management lets you fulfill your responsibilities promptly, enabling colleagues to do the same. Time management also allows you to effectively balance your work and personal time so that they do not affect each other negatively.

Out-of-the-box thinking

Problem-solving skills are indispensable skills, especially in high-paying careers. Being able to offer unconventional yet effective solutions makes you more valuable in any career you may be in. Being able to bring creative solutions to the table gives you an edge that would help out in your career advancement.


Being able to effectively and efficiently communicate your ideas is a necessity in any field. In today’s world, a huge emphasis is put on collaborative work where there is the free exchange of information at all times. Being able to speak your mind clearly lets you convey your thoughts and ideas without fear of misinterpretation or it getting lost in translation.

For a more in-depth look into the skills needed for a high-paying job, head over to Nexford’s Academic Model.

How to get high-paying jobs

Now that you know the skills you need, what’s left is landing your dream career. Here are a few things you can do to do just that.

Build a network

Having a robust professional network is a good way to land great opportunities. The connections allow you access to opportunities that aren’t necessarily available outside of a network. Start by meeting professionals in the field that you are aiming to join. Then foster these relationships. The trick is to make these meaningful and a lot less transactional.

Learn to position yourself

Good positioning is key to landing not only a good career but also getting a favorable deal. A lot of high-paying jobs require expert-level knowledge. Positioning yourself as an expert and proving the fact makes you instantly valuable to potential employers. Being confident with your skills and having something to show for it goes a long way.

Get needed credentials

An excellent way to demonstrate expertise is by earning the relevant credentials. For some, this may be industry certifications; for others, it will be an undergraduate degree. If you already have a bachelor’s degree and want more opportunities, consider pursuing a graduate degree⁠ like Nexford’s Masters in Business Administration⁠.

Need help in landing the best career that suits you? No worries! Check out Nexford University’s Career Services and Development for more info.


Ready to take the next step? Download our brochure or book a call with our Nexford Advisors!

About the Author

Joe McGoldrick

Known for strategy and attention to detail

Joe has more than 10 years of marketing experience, working within the public sector, client-side, and agency side.

He is passionate about using data and customer insights to improve marketing performance.

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