Find a job in South Africa

Updated 2014-07-02 13:32

South Africa's labor market is very open to foreign expertise. Expatriates wishing to settle there may try their luck in different fields.

As a foreigner or an expat, finding a job in South Africa is often just as challenging as it is for the local population; yet again it is sometimes far easier. Why? The main reason is that there is a huge skills shortage in the country, meaning that many a time companies actively look abroad for employees and open their doors to applications from immigrants. On the other hand, to immigrate to and be employed in South Africa under a work visa requires a certain proof that a company searched and found no other South African who could have qualified for the role. There is also an employment equity program in South Africa aimed at bettering the employment chances of previously disadvantaged citizens to be aware of.

How to proceed

The best manner in which one can find a job in South Africa is to decide what you will accept, research and apply, then attend interviews and finally start the immigration work visa process. This sounds very similar to finding a job in your own country, but the key difference is how and where.

Knowing what you want is often overlooked. Many foreigners decide to move to South Africa, to be with their loved one for example, and simply apply online for any position, even if only slightly suitable. The truth is that in South Africa there are hundreds of developed industries and your chosen professional highly likely has vacancies available. Once you have decided which type of positions you are interested in working in, also determine what sort of minimum salary you would agree to. Here you will have to start researching, which is the next step.

During the "research and apply" phase of your job hunt, you'll need to ascertain which companies operate in your chosen field. You will no doubt also be searching online through a number of job portals - a simple Google search will give you a great number to choose from. As far as these websites go, is the largest, followed by PNet and CareerJunction. is an aggregator of all of the job boards in the country.


Lastly, as part of your research, having read up about the positions available and companies operating in your sector, you will be able to refine your résumé to match the expectations of the employer's needs. For example, if you work in the construction industry as a project manager of buildings, you may find that in South Africa, more shopping centers are built that high-rises. This would then cause you to change your CV to show more retail or mall development experience.


In the final step, interviews must as far as possible be attended in person. An immigration process into South Africa to work, therefore, is actually best started with a holiday. On vacation, one can find out the lay of the land firsthand with respect to one's specific wants and needs. More importantly, setting up interviews and attending them during your stay is essential. Unless your skill set is so unique that you can be hired from abroad, a trip to South Africa is mandatory, and doubles as a fact finding expedition.


To end off, here are two little tips for the South African job market. One is to make sure to add achievements to your CV. Research shows that 1% of résumés actually include why one candidate is better than the rest of the field, with the vast majority simply factually stating their roles and duties. The other tip is to engage companies directly, by phone or email, and not only apply via job websites. Often, a company realizes the need for your skills by talking to you. Other times, you find out about positions that aren't advertised. Try to speak to decision-making managers, not human resource professionals.

Good luck on your job search in South Africa!

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