Employers hiring in South Africa in 2020 survey

Image via Adobe Stock

Survey: Here’s how South African employers will be hiring in 2020 

Around 85% of employers in South Africa say they expect to make no changes to their payrolls in 2020.

Employers hiring in South Africa in 2020 survey

Image via Adobe Stock

South Africa now stands in the bottom three globally when it comes to employment perceptions by employers.

According to results from the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for the second quarter (Q2) of 2020, the chances of getting hired in a non-exploitative way is looking rather bleak. 

The survey was conducted between 6 and 28 January before the global escalation of the coronavirus

“While it is too early to predict the potential impact of COVID-19 on global hiring, the reality today is that unemployment remains low in many markets and organisations globally, are still struggling to find people with the right skills,” said ManpowerGroup SA managing director Lyndy van den Barselaar. 

Opportunities for job seekers are expected to be strongest in the manufacturing sector and weakest within the construction sector. Provincially, employers in KwaZulu-Natal report the strongest hiring intentions for the second quarter of the year, while employers in the Eastern Cape report the weakest hiring intentions.

How South African employers will change their payroll

The overall outlook for South Africa stands at +2%, unchanged from the previous quarter. Hiring plans remain relatively stable when compared with the previous quarter, but decline by 3% in comparison with the same period last year.

South African employers report limited hiring intentions for the second quarter of 2020. While 8% of employers forecast an increase in payrolls, 5% anticipate a decrease and 85% expect to make no changes at all. 

Employers in three of the five regions expect to add to payrolls in the second quarter of 2020. The strongest labour market is anticipated by KwaZulu-Natal employers, who report a net employment outlook of +7%. Limited job gains are also forecast in the Western Cape and Gauteng, with outlooks of +4% and +3%, respectively. 

However, Free State employers report downbeat hiring prospects with an outlook of -4%, while the Eastern Cape outlook stands at -3% — in other words, KwaZulu-Natal is looking like a good place to be in 2020. 

The best sectors for sustainable careers in South Africa 

From the second quarter of 2020, the industry sector categories have been updated, with the total number of sectors being reduced from 10 to seven. Here are the sectors where employers are most likely to hire.

Five of the seven are unchanged: 

  • Manufacturing;
  • Construction; 
  • Wholesale and retail trade; 
  • Restaurants and hotels; and
  • Finance and business services. 

Two new sectors — other production and other services — have been created. Other production includes: 

  • Agriculture; 
  • Hunting; 
  • Forestry and fishing; 
  • Electricity, gas and water; and 
  • Mining and quarrying. 

The other services sector includes:

  • Public and social; 
  • Transport, storage and communication; and
  • Historical trend information continues to be available for all seven sectors, incorporating these changes.

Employers in five of the seven industry sectors expect to increase payrolls during the forthcoming quarter. The strongest hiring pace is forecast in the manufacturing sector, where the net employment outlook stands at +7%. Other production and services anticipate modest growth, with an outlook of +5% in both sectors, with restaurants and hotels’ outlook at +3%, and wholesale and retail trade at +2%. 

Meanwhile, employers in the construction sector and finance and business services sector expect to trim payrolls, with outlooks of -10% and -3% respectively.

Weak hiring intentions by small business employers 

Participating employers are categorised into one of four organisation sizes: 

  • Microbusinesses have less than 10 employees; 
  • Small businesses have 10 to 49 employees; 
  • Medium businesses have 50 to 249 employees; and 
  • Large businesses have 250 or more employees.

Large employers expect a healthy increase in payrolls during the coming quarter, reporting a net employment outlook of +22%. However, uncertain outlooks of -3% are reported by both small and micro-size employers, while the outlook for the medium-size category remains flat at 0%.

Employers in both the small- and micro-size categories report weaker hiring intentions when compared with this time one year ago, declining by seven and four percentage points, respectively. Elsewhere, medium-size employers’ hiring plans remain stable, while the outlook for large employers is unchanged. 

Here’s where the rest of the world stands 

If you’re looking to work overseas, this information is for you. Here’s the countries with the best hiring perceptions. 

In the ManpowerGroup research for the second quarter of 2020, employers in 42 of 43 countries and territories said they expect to grow payrolls in the period from April to June 2020. 

The strongest labour markets are anticipated in:

  • Greece; 
  • Japan; 
  • Taiwan; 
  • United States; and 
  • Romania. 

The weakest hiring activity is expected in:

  • Panama; 
  • Hong Kong; and 
  • South Africa.

When compared with the previous quarter, hiring plans strengthen in 21 of the 43 countries and territories, while employers in 11 report weaker hiring prospects, with no change reported in 11. 

The next ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey will be released on 9 June 2020 to report hiring expectations for the third quarter of the year.