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ICT skills in the labour market: An occupational-level analysis focusing on computer professionals and associate professionals, 1996-2005

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Corporate author/s:

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC); Sociology of Work Unit; University of Cape Town, School of Economics, Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU)

Person/s author/s:

Paterson, Andrew; Roodt, Joan


research report



formation and communication technologies (ICTs) are widely understood to be an enabler of economic growth (UNDP 2001a). South Africa's Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who launched the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (Asgisa), indicated ICT as an important enabler of growth and development (Mlambo-Ngcuka 2006). The concern has been expressed to the effect that there is a shortage of ICT skills in South Africa which will act as a restraint on the attainment of government's goal to achieve a sustainable annual six per cent growth rate in GDP and to halve unemployment and poverty by 2014. Claims about South Africa's apparent ICT skills shortages emanate from a range of sources such as government, training providers, industry, and writers of journal articles and media reports. We will briefly refer to examples from these media regarding the various dimensions of the ICT skills shortage. It is necessary to examine the available data to assess whether these statements or views have any validity, as not all sources can be trusted. We must measure the current size of the ICT workforce or the size of sub-occupational groups within the broader ICT sector in order to provide a sufficiently accurate base for estimating current and likely future demand for workers with these kinds of skills. Knowing how many workers are currently employed in a particular occupation and having additional information about their age and qualification levels, should make it possible to generate estimates of how many such occupational workers are likely to cease working and need to be replaced. Calculation of replacement rates involves an estimate of how many similarly - or better - skilled people must be produced through education and training in order to sustain the size of an occupational group whether it is stable, expanding or contracting in response to economic growth and labour market forces. An investigation of the shape and size of the ICT workforce can generate information about the relative size of the ICT workforce in relation to employment in particular economic sectors or within the whole labour market.

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