The effect SA's economy is having on IT jobs

Bradley Prior

MyBroadband Journalist
Staff member
Super Moderator
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
2,731
The effect SA's economy is having on IT jobs

CareerJunction has released its latest CareerJunction Index (CJI) report, which showed a continued decline in the number of advertised jobs in South Africa.

The CJI is based on data gathered from the CareerJunction website and monitors the labour market in South Africa by examining supply and demand trends.
 

skimread

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Messages
9,184
More a reflection on careerjunction that anything else really. People are just not using their site.

Just last week we had an article on careerjunction saying vacant positions and salaries are increasing due to emigration. Now we have demand is decreasing. They can't seem to make up their minds.
 

noxibox

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
18,238
When it comes to programming many companies have open positions they cannot fill due to a shortage of skilled people.
 

Pythonista

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Messages
457
Worth pointing out that during the Great Depression in the USA, the unemployment rate was LOWER than what it is currently in RSA.
 

Sapphiron

Centadel
Company Rep
Joined
Jan 29, 2004
Messages
2,053
I am fortunate enough that I am a business owner and make my own job, as well as not having to retrench people.

Business is slower than usual, but we are using the extra capacity for internal business improvement. The net effect for us, is due to the slow economy and increasingly poor quality skills available in the market, we are looking to optimize and automate before we will look at employing more people.
 

skimread

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Messages
9,184
When it comes to programming many companies have open positions they cannot fill due to a shortage of skilled people.
But where do they advertise and who do they use?

If there was such a shortage there would be a definite look at remote or semi remote jobs. Yet South Africa attitude lags way behind international companies in this regard. I can look at sites the biggest remote work marketplaces like upwork and see the number of freelancers in programming and filter by revenue and there aren't any in SA that make a living off of it.

We desperately need a major HR shift with IT companies in South Africa. The same old dinosaur HR processes of 20 years ago still exist.
 
Last edited:

^^vampire^^

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
3,645
But where do they advertise and who do they use?

If there was such a shortage there would be a definite look at remote or semi remote jobs. Yet South Africa attitude lags way behind international companies in this regard. I can look at sites the biggest remote work marketplaces like upwork and see the number of freelancers in programming and filter by revenue and there aren't any in SA that make a living off of it.

We desperately need a major HR shift with IT companies in South Africa. The same old dinosaur HR processes of 20 years ago still exist.
Most decent employees come from references. There are so many people trying to hop on the software dev bandwagon that you can easily waste your time interviewing 50+ candidates without a single standout. I remember about 6 years ago a place I worked at would have 2-3 candidates in every week. They managed to hire 3 devs in the span of 16 months, 1 who turned out to be bipolar and thought he was too good for the job (not a good combo), one which wasn't really that good but had potential to grow, and one guy that was a solid older dev with good work ethic. These were all supposed to be senior devs with 10+ years exp. The highlights included not being able to create a new solution in VS, not being able to use SSMS and not being able to connect their project to the DB even when given the connection string.

SA has been so far behind the curve on the internet side of things that it will take 10+ years before remote work is considered an option. I stay in Aus and even here those positions are rare (basically non existent too). The old school players are still in control of most business and remote work adoption will not be an option until they retire which is going to be another 20 years.
 
Last edited:

ThinkCentre

Expert Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2011
Messages
2,833
Could it be more a case of headhunting than advertising. If you advertise, you will get candidates with very impressive CVs etc but on further investigation, the only impressive part is the CV!
 

skimread

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Messages
9,184
Could it be more a case of headhunting than advertising. If you advertise, you will get candidates with very impressive CVs etc but on further investigation, the only impressive part is the CV!
I think most developers are the dark matter developers that Scott Hanselman talks about. You never hear of them but you know they exist. CVs will look great on paper. They have 10 years experience but really just 1 years experience 10 times over. If you change jobs every 2-3 years because you like tech and want to challenge yourself you are labelled as a job hopper.
 

krycor

Honorary Master
Joined
Aug 4, 2005
Messages
15,887
I think most developers are the dark matter developers that Scott Hanselman talks about. You never hear of them but you know they exist. CVs will look great on paper. They have 10 years experience but really just 1 years experience 10 times over. If you change jobs every 2-3 years because you like tech and want to challenge yourself you are labelled as a job hopper.
Depends.. so anyone who continues job hopping beyond the 1st 4-6yrs definitely gets regarded as a hopper but under that it’s kinda expected. Ie by the time you have 8yrs exp you need to be at a company for >3yrs at least once.

The natural expectation is that unless you start having 3-5yr stints at a place it starts to look like you not worth investing time/money into as the ROI is about 18months (great delivery focus people are >6m) so hoping frequently less than 36m means you may be costing companies. There are reasons as always but yeah.

On the opposite side of things, someone who has only ever worked for 1-3 companies (during a 8-12yr period), or even sectors/technologies is also considered “risky” as there is limited exposure (non-dev shop, as dev shops move u around typically).

But this is for a traditional dev role.. when there are design aspects and seo it’s kinda expected that people move around. Also when you hop to a job, stay and then hop twice in short succession it could mean you chose badly.. but as with in life, a quick change of perspective and it becomes are you just bad at choosing companies to work for? ie have bad judgment.

So yah.. it varies. The whole timeline manipulation is annoying and the minute is overlap that is not valid the candidate is typically tossed by the wayside as they are trying to mislead/misrepresent themselves (we find quite a few that do this on the junior side, we don’t hire seniors so no idea on prevelance). It’s annoying for me as I am pretty direct about what I can already do, can’t and able to learn on the fly.. but it seems the industry favors those that can convincingly lie. Bleh..
 

rubber_otter

Expert Member
Joined
May 25, 2009
Messages
1,586
More a reflection on careerjunction that anything else really. People are just not using their site.

Just last week we had an article on careerjunction saying vacant positions and salaries are increasing due to emigration. Now we have demand is decreasing. They can't seem to make up their minds.
It's a balancing act with most articles.

First, they tell you it is going badly, and that tips the scales.
Then the following week they tell you it's going well, and that balances **** out again.

These media yahoos man. They just wanna talk kak the whole day long and sow undue panic.

I wonder if the MyBB writers are proud of their jobs. I wonder if these dudes go home at night and tell their boyfriends about how much they accomplished. About how much bullshit they could actually come up in a single day.
 

skimread

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Messages
9,184
so hoping frequently less than 36m means you may be costing companies
This is valid for newbies joining companies. But seniors they hire you for your skills and new projects. All companies put clearly what they want in job ads. The interview process is numerous rounds. You are productive after you learn the company's processes which take maybe 2 weeks. They have a budget for a role. You fulfill that role. You deliverable is successful projects.

My view is 3 months to 1.5 years is a warning sign meaning the person didn't pass their probation period. I stay 2 to 3 years but by that time I have achieved everything I can and know if they value my work and systems I have built and that I should have a good idea how my career will progress and what the company politics is likes if I stay. Joining an IT company as a dev it is impossible to know there things.

Depends.. so anyone who continues job hopping beyond the 1st 4-6yrs definitely gets regarded as a hopper but under that it’s kinda expected.
With the political climate is there a reason not to want to look after your skills? Companies have short life spans. I find everyone want to screw each other and skills is the last thing companies care about once employed. Everyone is in the process or seems to have a plan in the back of their heads to get out.

Some focus on hoarding cash in order to finance the move or change careers and others focus on keeping skills up to date.
End goal is your work should lead to career and good life, not some number on a CV.


You might think you are a good developer but I guarantee you, you will be humbled pretty quickly if you go online tests on sites like toptal. Programming is like driving. Everyone exaggerates their capability thinking they are the top but when you compare yourself with the top specialists in the world you realize that comparatively that you don't have up to date skills and you were just a generalist all along and not as good as you thought you were.
 

cguy

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
5,548
For us, senior developers should have had a few long stints at a company (5-10+ years). It tends to speak to whether or not they have full project (of significant size) cycle experience: using existing system long enough to understand faults, designing new system, implementing new system, testing new system, maintaining new system, postmortem of new system, and the whole cycle, once again (possibly as a lead, the second time around).

Job hoppers are looked at extremely poorly. Apart from taking time away from others for ramping up (took up to 9months in one company I worked for, but typically a month or two), there is lost knowledge, replacement costs and IP loss when someone leaves. The average time-to-quitting in our team is well over 10 years.

So yah.. it varies. The whole timeline manipulation is annoying and the minute is overlap that is not valid the candidate is typically tossed by the wayside as they are trying to mislead/misrepresent themselves (we find quite a few that do this on the junior side, we don’t hire seniors so no idea on prevelance). It’s annoying for me as I am pretty direct about what I can already do, can’t and able to learn on the fly.. but it seems the industry favors those that can convincingly lie. Bleh..
Your company doesn’t hire senior developers?
 

cguy

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
5,548
I think most developers are the dark matter developers that Scott Hanselman talks about. You never hear of them but you know they exist. CVs will look great on paper. They have 10 years experience but really just 1 years experience 10 times over. If you change jobs every 2-3 years because you like tech and want to challenge yourself you are labelled as a job hopper.
I actually got the opposite vibe from his blog. There are people more in love with the culture of development and staying up to date with the latest tech than they are with actually using those skills to develop real projects.

These people are the ones that tend to make poor employees, while those who stick with some technology and focus on actually applying it and solving problems with it are the real producers, with the real experience.

In the article “they’re using our stuff to get work done” is a bit arrogant. The vast amount of those making noise on the twittersphere are not actually creating anything useful, and most innovations occur in research labs or emerge from those actually practicing the trade.
 
Last edited:

skimread

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Messages
9,184
Job hoppers are looked at extremely poorly. Apart from taking time away from others for ramping up (took up to 9months in one company I worked for, but typically a month or two), there is lost knowledge, replacement costs and IP loss when someone leaves. The average time-to-quitting in our team is well over 10 years.
You make it sound like IT companies are stable organisations. Most ones fluctuate significantly with high turn over, short lifespans and new startups get constantly created. People constantly seek work life balance and a company with decent benefits they can settle in. SA companies have crap leave benefits and have unpaid overtime with little notice. Then there is the worry of the economy so we have to always think of a backup plan.

The industry has changed dramatically in 20 years. Back then you could get a degree and walk into a job. Then that changed that you needed 2 years experience in popular enterprise language like Java or C#
Today the requirements have become so niche with every company having very unique and differing set of requirements, culture, management, tech, tools and daily tasks. No two companies are alike.

As a developer I can look as international job boards and know how employable I am in the modern market and what type of skills are needed. Am I willing to put all my faith in a a company I work for yet I hardly know them as I sit in front of a computer or in meetings all day? What happens if you have finished building successful systems that need little or no maintenance. They just don't need you anymore. A company treats you not how smart you are but how much they need you. If you finish developing systems and hand it over to admin staff they just don't need you anymore as you cannibalize your own job. I don't know any industry like that.
 
Last edited:

^^vampire^^

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2009
Messages
3,645
According to all the comments I would have to label myself as a job hopper I guess. Longest I've held down a single job is probably 2 years. Some of the reasons for this are on my side and some on the employers.

What I've noticed:

* I get bored easily. I like to be across multiple technologies and on different projects all the time. I've found a good fit in digital agencies to stave this off but the problem is the work is usually too short to be fulfilling. It's one hour here and 3 hours there. The time given to tasks is also generally too short because clients pay per hour so they tend to always opt for the quick and cheap option which means you are just churning out rubbish all the time.
* Companies refuse to promote. I've never worked at a company where promotion or promotion options were discussed. IT seems to be the last in line for any kind of promotion so it's up to the individual to move on to get the salary and position they deserve. My older brother had worked at just 3 companies in his life while in SA, 12 years software dev experience, was awarded the best developer at a large bank, manager even told him he wishes everyone could do what he could. This got him zero promotions and at the time was earning HALF what I did at the time.
* Companies lack vision, forethought or planning. There is a massive failure in companies big and small to put staff across new projects. This is more inherent in big business but I see it all the time in small projects/businesses too. You get hired because they have a new project with "specific requirements" that you fulfill. The project gets underway, everything is successful and then almost exactly 1 year to the day the project is complete and then.... nothing. You are now seen as the guy that will maintain that system forever and do the odd bug fix or very minor feature addition but that's it. New project? Better hire a guy before even consulting with anyone. This leads to back to point 1.
* Timesheeting. I know this is a necessary evil in some businesses but companies seem to go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure you don't know they do timesheeting until you start. Where were you from 9:53-9:59? Better log that somewhere because developers always put in a fully productive 8 hours a day and only leave the pc between 1pm-2pm (just kidding they never leave the pc). People seem horrified when I tell them that if they get a dev to log 60% of productive revenue generating time everyday they are winning.
* Work life balance. This one blew my mind a bit and never paid attention to it before but my GF always used to ask why I had to start work at 8am when everyone she knew started at 9am. Obviously this is only for a certain subset of jobs but in many cases there are jobs that are properly 9am-5pm where devs are from 8am-5pm, generally with a lot of unpaid overtime expected. It's taken me a very long time to get to where I am now earning a decent salary and work from home 4 days a week but this is far from the norm.
* IT staff are often treated like children. The stereotype is prevalent that IT people are hunchback recluses that can not be trusted to make decisions or be left to go to meetings unattended. No matter how well you conduct yourself on the daily businesses are terrified you will ruin everything.

TLDR; I'm a job hopper with a grudge.
 

cguy

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
5,548
You make it sound like IT companies are stable organisations. Most ones fluctuate significantly with high turn over, short lifespans and new startups get constantly created. People constantly seek work life balance and a company with decent benefits they can settle in. SA companies have crap leave benefits and have unpaid overtime with little notice. Then there is the worry of the economy so we have to always think of a backup plan.
I don't entirely disagree, but whether it's easy or hard to find a long term worthy job or not, those who bounce about still end up with a gaping hole in their "senior" skill set, and are far more likely to be net losses for larger scope projects.

The industry has changed dramatically in 20 years. Back then you could get a degree and walk into a job. Then that changed that you needed 2 years experience in popular enterprise language like Java or C#
Today the requirements have become so niche with every company having very unique and differing set of requirements, culture, management, tech, tools and daily tasks. No two companies are alike.
We still hire plenty of university graduates, as do all the companies I know of.

As a developer I can look as international job boards and know how employable I am in the modern market and what type of skills are needed. Am I willing to put all my faith in a a company I work for yet I hardly know them as I sit in front of a computer or in meetings all day? What happens if you have finished building successful systems that need little or no maintenance. They just don't need you anymore. A company treats you not how smart you are but how much they need you. If you finish developing systems and hand it over to admin staff they just don't need you anymore as you cannibalize your own job. I don't know any industry like that.
When I finish a project, and get it to a stage where others can maintain it, I move on to the next project. I haven't yet worked for a company that doesn't perpetually need skilled developers.
 

skimread

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2010
Messages
9,184
When I finish a project, and get it to a stage where others can maintain it, I move on to the next project. I haven't yet worked for a company that doesn't perpetually need skilled developers.
You did say the average time to quitting in your company is well over 10 years.

The junior with 2 years experience who wants a promotion can take over maintenance, as the senior by default has to mentor someone as part of his job description and write clean best practice code so someone can take over easy.
Managers like to call it "what if bus hits you" risk management strategy. I like to call it "you train your replacement" strategy. If you are a good teacher you screw yourself as after the successful project you ask for a increase based on your performance you have no leverage. The companies I have seen the developers have very high turnover but DBAs aren't as data will always exist and they are paid much more than developers. I find it unfair as developer get paid no additional monetary value for the yearly maintenance fees clients get charged for systems developed.
 

grok

Honorary Master
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
20,460
You might think you are a good developer but I guarantee you, you will be humbled pretty quickly if you go online tests on sites like toptal. Programming is like driving. Everyone exaggerates their capability thinking they are the top but when you compare yourself with the top specialists in the world you realize that comparatively that you don't have up to date skills and you were just a generalist all along and not as good as you thought you were.
Clever people know they don't have to be the best in the world to get that job, just the best out of those that applied..

Being the best also doesn't necessarily pay the bills, being employed or having work will.

And between the top people leaving in droves & the young'uns war-zoning their campuses, my years of experience are just looking better each day to potential employers.
 
Top