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Scarce & Critical Skills

There are a number of skills that are considered to be scarce in the local government sector – that is there is a skills shortage of these skills due to a number of possible reasons. The Department of Labour1 defines scarcity of skills as “the inability to find suitably qualified and experienced people to fill occupational vacancies either at an absolute level of scarcity or at a relative level of scarcity.” The Department of Labour defines absolute scarcity2 as where suitably qualified people are not available in the labour market under certain contexts. These contexts where scarcities might arise include where there is either:

  • “A “new or emerging occupation” where there are few people in a country with the requisite skills [or]
  • Firms, sectors and even the national economy are unable to implement planned growth strategies because productivity, service delivery and quality problems are directly attributable to a lack of skilled people [or]
  • Replacement demand would reflect an absolute scarcity where there are no people enrolled or engaged in the process of acquiring skills that need to be replaced.”

Below is a list of absolute scarce skills for the sector at present:

Absolute scarce skills
Chief Financial Officer Electrical Engineer
Project Manager Urban and Regional Planner
Construction Project Manager Accountant (General)
Supply Chain Manager Water Plant Operator
Information Technology Manager Plumber (General)
Civil Engineer Electrician (General)
Civil Engineering Technologist  

1 Department of Labour, available: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:dXCdt3S1itUJ:www.labour.gov.za/DOL/downloads/documents/useful-documents/skills-development-act/Useful%2520Document%2520-%2520NSF%2520-%2520National%2520Scarce%2520Skills%2520List.doc+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=zw

2 Department of Labour, available: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:dXCdt3S1itUJ:www.labour.gov.za/DOL/downloads/documents/useful-documents/skills-development-act/Useful%2520Document%2520-%2520NSF%2520-%2520National%2520Scarce%2520Skills%2520List.doc+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=zw

 

Relative scarce skills are defined as “where suitably skilled people are in fact available in the labour market but they do not exhibit other employment criteria, for example:

  • High-level work experience, for example project management of large construction sites such as dams or power plants.
  • Geographical location, for example, people are unwilling to work outside of urban areas.
  • Equity considerations, for example, there are few if any candidates with the requisite skills from specific groups available to meet the skills requirements of firms and enterprises.”3

Below is a list of relative scarce skills for the sector at present

Relative scarce skills
Internal Audit Manager Compliance Officer (Risk Officer)
Policy and Planning Manager Internal Auditor
Corporate Services Manager ICT Specialist
Personnel / Human Resources Manager Systems Administrator
Community Development Manager Librarian
Environmental Manager Civil Engineering Technician
Commissioned Fire and Rescue Officer Town Planning Technician
Disaster Management Manager Electrical Engineering Technician
Environmental Officer Building Construction Supervisor
Water Quality Technician Waste Materials Plant Operator
Electrical Engineering Technologist Finance Clerk/Administrator
Architect Procurement Clerk
Registered Nurse (Community Health) Supply Chain Practitioner
Environmental Health Officer Building Site Inspector
Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHE&Q) Community Development Worker
Management Accountant Disaster Management Coordinator/Officer
Financial Accountant Accounting Clerk
Local Economic Development Officer/Coordinator Fire Fighter
Liaison Officer Traffic Officer

Critical Skills

Critical skills are “top-up” skills which are required to improve performance within an occupation. There are two categories of critical skills - generic top-up skills and technical top-up skills. Generic “top-up” skills, include (in NQF terminology) critical cross field outcomes. These would include cognitive skills (problem solving, learning to learn), language and literacy skills, mathematical skills, computer literacy skills, team work etc. Technical “top-up” skills are those which are required on top of the generally accepted skills, associated with and occupation. These skills might have emerged as a result of changing technology, new forms of work organisation or even the operational context in which the occupation is being applied.

Below is a list of some examples of generic and technical ‘top-up’ skills for the sector:

Generic ‘top-up’ skills
Adult Education and Training
Computing skills
Communication
Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Financial Life Skills
Problem Solving & Decision Making
Public Participation
Technical ‘top-up’ skills
Advance Geographic Information System
Environmental Practice
Fire Fighter Training
Grader operator
Law Enforcement
Nature Conservation
Risk Management
Project Management
Policy Development
Ward Committee Training