March 28, 2019 The Tech Industry’s Contribution to Employment

By Tom Wilde

An industry that develops tools for automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence - technologies that have been said to have an impact on employment in certain industries - also provides the opportunity for new roles of employment and the chance of learning a newly developed skill.  People join the industry in many ways. Some people have the opportunity to go through tertiary education, while others are self-taught, and learning the fundamental tools in the tech industry have helped them land a job they never dreamed of after school.  

Learning For Employment

For many South Africans, it’s not uncommon for people to leave school without finishing or going on to receive any formal tertiary education. A few years out of school and plenty of average jobs later, discovering the world of programming and developing can be life-changing. Employment in programming can lead to a fulfilling career of challenges and opportunities that allow you to grow in many ways. By utilising the amount of free content, tutorials and tools online, as well as by signing up for various courses, you can land yourself a job that can give you a long and successful career without even having a degree. Here, you will learn skills that are high in demand and allow you many possibilities for future growth.  While there is no shortage of demand for jobs in the tech industry, South Africa playing catch-up on the Fourth Industrial Revolution has stunted the supply to fulfil these roles with qualified people. The role of a developer is becoming more crucial than ever and as the expansion of technologies has an impact on lives in all areas, job prospects for developers, programmers and engineers will continue to grow.  When deciding on what you should learn to gain the relevant skills to get into this industry, it’ss important to develop the foundational skills that are transferable between roles before branching out into related fields. Here are some of the most in-demand skills that are needed by developers and programmers:

  • JavaScript
  • Responsive Design
  • Testing/ Debugging
  • Web Performance
  • Command Line

The Fastest Growing Sector in South Africa

Between 2019 and 2022, South Africa’s total workforce is expected to grow 1.6% annually, while the ICT sector has forecasted growth of 4.2%. The ICT sector also has a faster growth rate in jobs than the rest of the economy. A major portion of this growth is from tech organisations aimed at the end-user, rather than within the industry itself. This a reflection of the broader IT ecosystem, with an increasing number of positions being filled by people with self-taught skills or having studied several online short-courses.  This is something that has been noticed by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), with the Minister noting their responsibility to address the skills needs in this industry. As an effort to deal with this issue, the DHET has put together a list of 370 Occupations in High Demand which they aim to support through education in the near future.  The occupations in the ICT sector that have contributed the fastest growth to the economy are as follows: 

  • Software developer;
  • Application Development manager;
  • Developer programmer;
  • Applications programmer
  • ICT project manager;
  • ICT risk specialist;
  • Programmer analyst;
  • Data Management manager;
  • Information Technology manager;
  • Information Systems director;
  • ICT systems analyst;


Despite there being no real support for the tech industry in terms of formal education around these sectors, the tech industry is still one of the largest contributors to employment and the economy in SA. Across the three main sub-sectors of the ICT sector (telecom services, mobile services and internet and data services), the growth of employment went from 51 993 in 2017 to 61 757 in 2018. A growth of 18.8% over a one-year period.  With the increase in employment in the industry, comes an increase in the number of employees reaching top positions. Between 2017 and 2018, the growth in employees in the tech industry occupying top management positions increased by 554 people.  


Not only is the tech industry the fastest growing sector in SA, or one of the biggest contributors of employees to the workforce, but this sector of the economy also offers one of the largest revenue contributions. In 2018, the ICT sector gained R 229 billion in revenue, increasing by 12.2% from 2017 (R204 billion). More recently, it was recorded that over a four-year period, from 2015-2019, the industry’s total revenue grew by 6.5%.  The telecommunications services sub-sector saw the highest year-on-year growth, reaching R187 million in 2018. The other notable areas that are driving the growth of industry, as well as the economy, including cloud computing, mobile services, broadcasting services and internet and data services. 

Room for Growth

The exciting part about the potential of this industry, is that the roles that will drive the economy in the future, may not even be around yet. The importance of the industry is finally being recognised by the contribution to the increasing demand in jobs, the focus on skills in tech and the potential number of people who will occupy a job role in this sector in the future.  If there was ever an industry to become a part of today, the tech industry is it. Join the industry now by uploading your CV or browsing through our Vacancies.