Lists of occupations in high demand and critical skills


The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande launched the latest National List of Occupations in High Demand (OIHD) on 26 November 2020. The list reflects the work undertaken by the DHET, through the Labour Market Intelligence research programme, in order to support human resource development in South Africa.

The OIHD is updated every two years and marks an important step towards promoting a better understand of the needs of the labour market. The list also signals opportunities where our students and graduates are likely to stand a better chance of finding employment.

National List of Occupations in High Demand is based on a thorough review of international good practice and information about global occupations in high demand. In addition to the use of a range of statistics for the compilation of this list, the DHET embarked on extensive stakeholder engagements to confirm which occupations are in high demand. Those consulted to compile the list included public and private institutions, social partners, and researchers who supported the DHET to produce a credible, evidence-based and well-validated list of occupations in high demand.

The purpose of the List of Occupations in High Demand

The List of Occupations outlines occupations which are likely to have vacancies and are likely to grow due to new investments, especially by government.

The list identified that 345 occupations [out of 1 500 registered in the Organizing Framework for Occupations (OFO)] are in high demand. These occupations are at high and intermediate skills levels.

Many of the occupations on the list can be associated with key areas and sectors identified as crucial for the Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. These include, among others:

  • Digital economy,
  • Energy,
  • Infrastructure development,
  • Manufacturing, Tourism and agriculture,
  • Data scientist,
  • Web developer,
  • Computer network technician,
  • Electrical engineer,
  • Concentrated solar power process controller,
  • Mechatronic technician,
  • Toolmaker,
  • Gaming worker,
  • Crop produce analyst, and
  • Agricultural scientist.

Universities, TVET colleges and, private education and training institutions, and other training providers are therefore encouraged to use the 2020 National List of Occupations in High Demand to inform their selection of programme offerings, resource allocation, enrolment planning processes as well as the identification and development of new qualifications and programmes that are more responsive to the needs of the economy and society as a whole.

Moreover, career development and information services are also called upon to his list to guide young people about possible career opportunities.


In addition to the List of Occupations in High Demand, the DHET have researched and identified those occupations that may require skilled personnel to be recruited from outside of South Africa (also known as the List of Critical Skills). The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation will share the 2020 List of Critical Skills with the Minister of Home Affairs, who will consider the same for possible adoption and gazetting.


Lists of occupations in high demand and critical skills

TitleDescriptionVersionSizeHitsDate addedDownload
Technical Report for the 2020 Critical Skills List1.04 MB6507-12-2020 DownloadPreview
2020 List of Occupations in High Demand- A Technical Report1.44 MB10107-12-2020 DownloadPreview