The processes followed in compiling the National Scarce Skills List is as follows:
STEP ONE Agreement on terms of reference for the compilation of National Scarce Skills List.
STEP TWO Formation of an Advisory Committee to provide inputs to the research.
STEP THREE Conduct the research.
STEP FOUR Interviews with a sample of employer association representatives.
STEP FIVE Presentation of draft findings to the Advisory Committee for feedback.
STEP SIX Review and revision of feedback from Advisory Committee.
STEP SEVEN Gazetting of National Scarce Skills List (2014) for public comment.
STEP EIGHT Review of public comments and revision of National Scarce Skills List (2014).
STEP NINE Publication of National Scarce Skills List (2014).
STEP TEN Dissemination of final National Scarce Skills List (2014) to public.
-supply-side planning undertaken by public and private education and training institutions (Universities, Further Education and Training Colleges and Adult Education and Training Centres);
-the development of labour market-relevant programmes and qualifications;
-the determination of funding norms for the programme-qualification mix;
-prioritising student funding through institutions such as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme;
-the identification of skills programmes that are facilitated by Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and to inform SETA -support for bursaries, internships, learnerships and artisan training;
-the identification of training programmes offered by private providers and parastatals;
-career advisory services;
-sector, industry, regional and employer plans; and immigration policies (namely, the issuing of work visas).
Many analysts regard poor skills levels as the most important because of South Africa’s high unemployment rate. One explanation frequently offered for South Africa’s high levels of unemployment is the shortage of skills. While it is important to address the very low skills levels among the unemployed, it is equally important to increase the country’s supply of skilled people (CDE Report, 2011). Research has shown that South Africa needs skilled immigrants, and the immigration of skilled people has improved in the past five years.
The Framework for Identifying and Monitoring Scarce and Critical Skills (2005, p. 6) describes scarce skills as “those occupations in which there is a scarcity of qualified and experienced people, currently or anticipated in the future, either (a) because such skilled people are not available or (b) they are available but do not meet employment criteria”. The framework further provides a distinction between absolute and relative scarcity.
Absolute scarcity refers to suitably skilled people who are not available in the labour market to meet a skills shortage and may be due to any new or emerging occupation, lack of suitably qualified people or insufficient numbers of people enrolled in programmes to meet the new demands. Relative scarcity refers to suitably skilled people available in the labour market but who may not necessarily have a high level of work experience, may not be located within a specific geographical location and equity considerations. Scarcity often manifests itself in an inability to fill positions over prolonged periods of time, above average growth in remuneration and the inability of small organisations and rural areas to attract skilled people.