Tough times for IT professionals in South Africa

Standard Bank recently announced that it will restructure its IT division which will “result in the loss of a number of existing traditional IT positions”.

The bank issued Section 189 notices to 526 employees, many of whom are IT managers and executives.

Standard Bank said this restructuring will create new IT roles at the bank, with a focus on cloud engineering, data science and analytics, and cyber security.

This follows similar announcements in 2018 by other companies which employ a large number of ICT professionals, including BCX, Internet Solutions, and Liquid Telecom.

In early November, BCX informed employees that it had started a Section 189 process, which is a fancy way of saying they plan to cut staff.

According to the company around 790 employees across all job categories and in all divisions will be impacted.

Liquid Telecom SA announced in October that its new digitally-enhanced operating model, which includes the automation of many tasks, will lead to job losses at the company.

The extent of the retrenchments at Liquid Telecom will only be established after the consultation process.

The company will also offer voluntary early retirement packages to qualifying employees over the age of 55.

In July, Internet Solutions said many of its employees were facing retrenchment in its latest round of staff cuts.

Internet Solutions also shed staff in 2016 as part of a restructuring process, which the company said was to achieve an “improved client experience”.

These staff cuts in 2018 follows similar process at many large ICT companies in recent years, including Telkom, Cell C, and MTN.

Low job prospects

Bad news for IT professionals who lose their jobs is that the South African recruitment market is not particularly healthy.

The latest CareerJunction Index report shows that demand for IT professionals in South Africa has been flat in 2018.

The CareerJunction Index monitors the labour market in South Africa by examining supply and demand trends.

According to the report, job volumes in the ICT market have not increased year-on-year, as shown in the graph below.

Shortage of some skills

While many IT professionals are facing job cuts and tough jobseeker conditions, there is some good news for those with the right skills.

The demand for software developers, for example, remains very strong in South Africa.

According to the CareerJunction Index, recruitment activity for software developers grew by 12% month-on-month.

The report added that IT professionals with sought-after skills are still in high demand with great job prospects.

Now read: BCX’s scary warning to employees

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Tough times for IT professionals in South Africa