Find a Job in Johannesburg

How to look for work in Johannesburg

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The sanctions imposed on South Africa during the 1980s had an adverse impact on the corporate sector. Also, there was an increase in international competition once the normalization of political relations with the country's major trading partners occurred in the 1990s.  Finally, the global decline in the consulting sector has had an adverse impact on the South African market, especially because many local consulting firms had parent companies in Europe and the U.S. The current trend has been to merge information technology (IT) and management consulting functions. Although the short term effect of these factors on the corporate sector has been negative, the effects of globalization should benefit the South African economy in the long run.

Unemployment in South Africa is high, but this is due in large part to a shortage of skilled workers. Major areas of employment include financial services, business services, and mining. There is a high demand for sales personnel with relevant experience. The demand for both research analysts and marketing managers is also much higher than the supply of appropriately qualified individuals. This is also true for Chartered Accountants, insurance industry positions, consulting, and auditing. However, there is an oversupply of people for clerical and banking positions.

There are two types of CV's in South Africa. Either may be used, according to personal preference or depending on circumstances.

  • The brief profile is an abbreviated version of the comprehensive CV, and merely lists the main elements of the applicant's education and work experience chronologically.
  • The comprehensive CV includes all the same sections, but expands on the applicant's current or most relevant position.

The CV should be written in British English, as this is the language of business in South Africa.

Dress conservatively for your job interview - this means suits with ties or sport coats and trousers for men, and dresses or suits for women. In preparation for the interview, thoroughly research the company. This will enable you to answer questions well, and demonstrate knowledge and initiative in your own questions. The interview, for which you must be punctual, will usually start with introductions in order of seniority, and handshakes all around. People living in South Africa generally shake hands or make gestures with their right hand. The force with which a handshake is returned should be based on the force with which it was received. Men and women do not typically shake hands as much as in the West, so unless a woman in South Africa initiates the handshake, men should not reach out their hands. Equally, the American woman might not have her hand taken by a South African man when she extends it. Don't misinterpret this as discourteous.

After a few minutes of casual conversation, the meeting will begin in earnest. Unless invited to use first names by the interviewer(s), use "Mr." or "Mrs." or "Miss" (or perhaps "Ms.") during the conversation. The first questions will be questions about your experience, and your solutions to real or potential problems. Listen carefully to the questions; speak clearly and confidently. Be prepared to discuss your strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments. Avoid arrogance and boasting. Although you may be made to feel at ease, never become familiar Hand gestures are common in conversation in South Africa, and it is perfectly fine for you to use them. However, avoid close physical proximity, pointing a finger at anyone, or talking with your hands in your pockets, all of which are considered impolite.

South Africans rely on networking and personal recommendations when looking for job, but foreigners with few personal contacts in the country don't need to worry--there is no reason why they cannot compete in the job market and gain access to networking resources. This is especially true for well-educated and highly skilled workers. Any expatriate who wants to find a job in South Africa should consider checking out the country's many professional organizations and trade unions. They are easily found by conducting an Internet search for your area of career interest. A few are listed below.

Business Women's Association of South Africa (BWA)
The BWA is committed to advancing the interests of women in business and public life by providing social and networking facilities and promoting the personal development of members. It provides information on topical issues as well as giving moral support to members. It is also committed to assisting women who are not members to study at recognized business schools and assume positions of responsibilities in the business world.

Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
The DMA is the trade association for the direct marketing and call center industry in South Africa. Established in 1974, the DMA is a nonprofit body representing more than 400 local and international organizations involved in direct marketing. It represents marketers and suppliers active in all media, from telephone to print and direct delivery to electronic.

Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoD)
The IoD is a leadership forum that helps members develop through education, information, and the sharing of knowledge. The IoD provides its membership, which includes directors and other business leaders, with networking opportunities, among other benefits.

The Society of Advocates - Witwatersrand Local Division - South Africa
In Johannesburg most advocates belong to a voluntary association, the name of which is the Society of the Advocates (Witwatersrand Local Division). This is the largest Bar in South Africa and it has approximately 600 members, practising in chambers held either in the city centre, or in Sandton.

Useful Addresses

Engineering News
Engineering News is Africa's premier source of engineering news. It is published on a weekly basis in English, and may be searched online.

Finance Week
Finance Week is published weekly in English and provides an overview of economic information, along with award-winning investment advice.

The following links can help you find short term and permanent job opportunities in Johannesburg.

Update 27/11/2008


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