South African IT professionals are an endangered species

Digital and IT professionals are leaving the country in growing numbers, causing a shortage of skilled workers in the sector.

Speaking in an interview with the Sunday Times, Adcorp CEO Innocent Dutiro said that finding qualified IT workers is becoming increasingly difficult due to the exodus of professionals.

“We’ve got an IT contracting business where we struggle to fill the requests that come from our clients because the skills here are in such short supply, and the demand for these skills is global,” Dutiro said.

He said that local conditions are pushing away IT professionals, as their skills are in high demand internationally.

“We’re competing for South African skills against countries with stronger currencies,” he said. “Our first objective should be to try and retain our own skills because we’re losing those to other markets.”

Dutiro added that South African businesses should take good care of their skilled IT workers, which he called an “endangered species” due to the shortage of them working locally.

Brain Drain

The number of qualified professionals leaving the country is a serious problem which cuts across racial lines.

Johannes Wessels, director of The Enterprise Observatory of South Africa (EOSA), said at least 400,000 high-income professionals have left South Africa.

“This contributes to the shrinking percentage of high-income households, as well as removing people in high personal tax brackets as contributors to SARS,” he said.

A recent estate agent survey found that more than 14% of house sales this year are emigration-driven, significantly higher than last year, with the most popular emigration destinations being the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

MyBroadband’s 2019 IT Salary Survey also revealed that 46% of IT professionals in South Africa plan to leave the country permanently or work abroad in the near future.

The main reason for IT professionals planning to leave South Africa is political and economic concerns about the country.

Other prominent reasons for people planning to leave the country is crime, better living standards abroad, and a better future for their children.

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South African IT professionals are an endangered species