Working Abroad: South Africa


The South African economy is by far the largest on the African continent. The majority of sectors are well developed, particularly in the areas of transport, energy and communication. And so the stock market is even in the top 10 of the world. But this well-developed South Africa is also still a developing country with a high unemployment rate of 26.6 percent. However, this doesn't stop Europeans and other Westerners from working in South Africa. Working in South Africa has increasing popularity. On this page you can find out how it works with a work visa in South Africa, the most important sectors where work can be found and tips for a resume and job interview.

Working in South Africa: Important sectors

First, don't be put off by South Africa's high unemployment rate. Of course it's of course best if you have already been offered a job before you move to South Africa. But otherwise don't be discouraged by the high unemployment rate. When you have a good education, finding a job in South Africa isn't impossible at all. The unemployment rate mainly goes into low-quality jobs. It's of course interesting to know where most jobs can be found.

In which sectors of South Africa can I easily find a job?

There is a demand for workers in the following sectors:

  • Business, economy and management
  • Architecture
  • healthcare
  • Informatics, communication and technology

Of course you'll find the largest job offer in cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg. Many large multinationals are located here, who have housed their IT help desk here in one of the South African cities. Simply because this is cheaper than a location in Europe.

Large multinationals have housed their IT helpdesk in Johannesburg or Cape Town, because this is simply cheaper than a location in Europe. Working in South Africa as an expat? This can be advantageous, because some companies generally hire foreigners faster. When looking for a job in South Africa, it's important to focus on the larger cities, because you are more likely to find a job here.

Work temporarily or permanently in South Africa

A visa is a requirement if you are going to work in South Africa. There are three different types of work visas in South Africa:

  • Critical skills visa: this is a visa for expats who have practical experience in a specific area. You must then plan to stay in South Africa for at least five years to work there.
  • General work visas: this is the visa that's usually issued for people who have emigrated to South Africa and have been offered a job here. There is no minimum stay for this.
  • Intra-company transfer work visas: this visa is issued to people who work at a multinational company and have been working in South Africa for a minimum of two years. This visa can be extended with four years.
  • Volunteer visa : this visa is relatively easy to obtain and is often valid for one to three years.
  • An important tip is: start applying for a work visa on time. It takes on average six weeks to eighteen months (!) Before your visa is arranged. For detailed information about applying for a visa in South Africa, you can certainly take a look at our visa page in South Africa, where everything is explained in detail.

Work culture in South Africa

Working in South Africa means a number of changes. First, the pace of work in South Africa may take some getting used to. The pace of work in South Africa is lower, partly due to the climate. Furthermore, most South Africans live from day to day. Long-term planning isn't usually in their dictionary. Time isn't considered important and you therefore don't know how much time it will take.

On the other hand, you can also see the benefit of this. Working in South Africa generally means less stress and that's good. The working hours are generally from 9 am to 5 pm and a working week of 45 hours is normal. Furthermore, overtime is also a normal phenomenon here. Most employees find it no problem to work long days or to work on weekends.

Jobs in South Africa

The question is how you can find the easiest job in South Africa. Through networking in South Africa, getting networks and recommendations is the easiest way to get a job. However, this isn't an option when you start looking for a job in South Africa. There are enough vacancy websites, but not all vacancies. There is often a lot of work at local companies, but you'll not find this on the internet.

It's recommended for most expats to simply travel to South Africa and then look for work here. Building contacts through your network is essential. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and written in English. There are also a number of groups that you can join. Think of 'Entrepreneurship in South Africa' and 'Cape Town Business Club'. Here are vacancies that you can respond to immediately. There is also a lot of information to gather about working in South Africa, so make good use of it.

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