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Country ProfileProfessional Resources  |  Job Search Resources  |  Financial Considerations  |  Employment Trends
Resume/CV's  |  Information Technology  |  Interviewing Advice Engineering  |  Work Permits
Accounting & Finance  |   Cultural Advice  |  Sales & Marketing  |    General Business

 

Country Profile
Until 1991, when apartheid officially ended, South Africa divided its
population into four racial categories: African (black), white, colored
(mixed race), and Asian. Although this law has been abolished, many
South Africans still view themselves and others according to these
categories. There are almost 43 million people living in South Africa
today, but only 14 percent of them enjoy a standard of living
equivalent to that of Western Europeans or North Americans.

Until 1914, South Africa's economy was based mostly on mining and
agriculture. Today, the country has the most advanced economy in
Africa--its GDP is nearly four times that of Egypt, its nearest
competitor on the continent. It has an abundant supply of resources
and well developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and
transportation sectors.

South Africa operates as a republic and has only recently had
democratic elections. Pretoria is its capital, Cape Town is its
legislative center, and Bloemfontein is its judicial center.

Professional Resources
Any expatriate who wants to find a job in South Africa should
consider checking out the country's many professional organizations
and trade unions. For instance, the Congress of South African Trade
Unions is a coalition of 19 trade unions with a total membership of
more than 1.8 million; the Federation of Unions of South Africa has
28 affiliated trade unions. There are also professional organizations
serving just women, like the Soroptomist International Pretoria and
Women's Net. Many South African towns have their own chambers of
commerce.

Foreigners will find it helpful to become acquainted with the
telephone directories serving South Africa, such as Braby's On-Line.
There are several major trade publications in South Africa, and many
of them are published in English. Numerous books about business and
work in South Africa have been published recently. Expatriates
searching for a way to overcome their lack of professional and
personal contacts in South Africa can get a lot of help through
joining networking and service organizations, including the City and
Civil Service Club

Job Search Resources
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.
One option for foreigners is to send their resumes/CVs directly to
companies, remembering that many jobs in South Africa are never
advertised in official channels. You will achieve the best success if
you have a specific contact to whom you can address your letter.
Companies have also begun to employ staffing agencies and
executive recruiters to help find employees.

Online career sites in South Africa include Job Navigator South Africa,
which allows job seekers to match their qualifications with available
jobs. Job Navigator provides an e-mail job-alert service that sends
job seekers the latest listings and a CV wizard that helps users
create professional CVs. There are government-sponsored labor
centers in many South African towns, which are meant to help people
receive training and find jobs. You might also have luck searching
through job advertisements in newspapers. Women can find
networking help through a variety of women's organizations, including
Women's Net.

Financial Considerations
South Africa is still changing rapidly, and that goes for the cost of
living, too. Housing costs vary greatly depending on area. Cities, of
course, are more expensive than rural areas. House prices in the
Cape Peninsula are about 35 percent higher than in the rest of the
country.

Most employers in South Africa do not offer sick leave, and there is
no minimum wage. South Africans are taxed on a progressive system
of income from earned wages. There is no official definition of a
taxable resident. Tax residency is determined according to the terms
of any fiscal agreement between South Africa and the foreigner's
country of origin. There are no deductions for children and
corporations have no obligation to withhold tax for foreign workers.

Employment Trends
Economists predict an upbeat South African economy, a stable
political environment, and a strong government in the next few
years. The government plans to address the issues of privatization
and deregulation, attempting to make the country more
investor-friendly in the long term. This outlook bodes well for
business and for job seekers.

The most promising economic areas in South Africa are the IT
sectors, telecommunications, security, health care, e-commerce,
beauty products, pollution management technologies, tourism,
infrastructure, and finance. South Africa will continue to be an
attractive choice for exports, foreign investment, and joint ventures.

While South Africa's unemployment rate is quite high (37.3 percent in
2000), a more telling indicator of job opportunities for skilled foreign
workers is the country's graduate unemployment rate, which is just
2.9 percent, a rate conventionally regarded as full employment. This
number suggests that the employment potential of graduates and
high-level skilled labor has not reached its peak.

Resume/CV's
When applying for a position in South Africa, two types of resume
may be used. Initially, it is acceptable to submit a "Brief Profile". This
is a short summary of your full resume, and gives personal
information, education, and a chronological list of previous positions.
You should expand on your most recent or relevant position, and
mention that you have a comprehensive resume available.

The "Comprehensive Resume" includes, first: name, address, and
complete contact information. The Education section follows,
containing (with dates) a list of schools attended, their locations,
your major(s), your diplomas and degrees. Briefly list extracurricular
activities, leadership roles, awards and honors, and any extra
courses, training, or relevant experience.

"Employment History" may be listed in chronological,
reverse-chronological, or functional order. For each position, you
should provide the name of your employer, the location and focus of
the business, your title(s), and the dates of your employment.
Describe your responsibilities, achievements and your reason for
leaving.

In the final section, list professional affiliations, relevant volunteer
experience and further personal information: date of birth, marital
status, nationality and languages spoken. Include the names of
several references, with contact information.

Enclose your resume with a brief cover letter.

Information Technology
South Africa's IT sector is growing rapidly and is considered one of
the top ten emerging markets for computer companies. Nearly three
quarters of IT workers are under the age of 35, and 43 percent of
them have been in IT for fewer than five years.

IT professionals enjoy higher-than-average salaries, low barriers to
entry, and a relatively short training period. Currently, there is a
shortage of skilled IT workers in South Africa. Many companies offer
on-the-job IT training programs; some people enroll in certification
courses before applying for jobs. Of those who hold diplomas or
degrees, most come from an engineering background, and
computer-engineering degree programs are springing up nationwide.

The Information Technology Association S.A. and the Post and
Telecom Association of South Africa are two of the country's
IT-related professional associations. Periodicals covering the
industry, such as Computing SA, could also prove useful to foreigners
seeking South African IT jobs.

Interviewing Advice
In preparation for your 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. Unless
invited to use first names, use "Mr." or "Mrs." or "Miss" during the
conversation. After a few minutes of casual conversation, the
meeting will begin in earnest, with 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.
Avoid close physical proximity, pointing a finger at anyone, or
talking with your hands in your pockets.
Dress conservatively—suits, or sport coats and trousers for men,
and dresses or suits for women.

Engineering
South Africa's engineering industry is large, sophisticated, and
extremely versatile. Engineers are a major part of the steel and iron
industries, the motor industry, the mining and quarry industries, and
the construction industry. There are also geological, industrial,
metallurgical, and mineral processing engineers.

Many companies employ students and universities (called technikons)
while they're still in school, allowing them to receive both theoretical
and practical training. Engineers in some specialties must pass a
certificate of competency before becoming full-fledged professionals.
The Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) evaluates the
academic qualifications of foreigners who wish to become registered
to work as professional engineers in South Africa. They are invited to
a personal interview to determine whether their training meets
ECSA's requirements. As a member of the Engineers Mobility Forum
(EMF), South Africa recognizes the standards of other member
countries when evaluating applicants.

Other organizations for engineers in South Africa include the
Constructional Engineering Association and the Steel and Engineering
Industries Federation of South Africa.


Work Permits
Foreigners interested in working in South Africa must complete a visa
application form and submit it to the South African diplomatic mission
nearest them at least six weeks before their proposed date of
departure. Accompanying the application must be a firm offer of
employment and proof that there was no way to fill the position in
question with a South African applicant.

The employer's letter must prove that the vacancy was advertised
locally and it must demonstrate that candidates from the South
African labor pool were not suitable or that the foreign candidate
possesses special qualifications not readily available in South Africa.
In the case of senior positions, the letter must state whether the
Department of Labor, the relevant councils, employers' and
employees' organizations, and various other professional bodies were
consulted on filling the position with a local.

The South African Department of Home Affairs may require the visa
applicant to submit a cash deposit in addition to the regular
application fee to ensure that should the applicant need to be
repatriated, all necessary costs will be covered. This deposit is
refundable upon departure from South Africa.

Accounting & Finance
South Africa has a sophisticated financial structure with a large and
active stock exchange that ranks 18th in the world in terms of total
market capitalization. According to one study, the financial workers
most in demand among employers are chartered accountants,
insurance professionals, consultants, and auditors.

There are several professional accountancy bodies in South Africa,
including the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants
in Southern Africa and the Chartered Institute of Management
Accountants. Labor unions and professional organizations also serve
bankers and other finance professionals in South Africa. Local
professionals read periodicals, such as Finance Mail, that could also
be of use to foreigners seeking South African jobs.

Cultural Advice
South Africa is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the
world. There are more than eleven major ethnic groups in South
Africa, and each of their languages is recognized as an official
language. English is widely understood and foreigners who speak it
will find it fairly easy to communicate in the South African business
community, but in order to avoid ambiguity, it's best to use simple
English and confirm important points in writing.

Despite this diversity and the recent political and policy changes, the
business environment is still fairly divided between white-owned
businesses and black-owned businesses. Things are changing,
though, and black managers are increasingly found in white-owned
businesses, while many black-owned businesses have the potential
to become future leaders.

South Africa's economy is not nearly as internationally integrated as
those of Europe, Asia, and North America, but the business
community is eager to attract foreign investment and make contact
with the outside world.

Most South Africans work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Lunch, breakfast, and dinner meetings are common. A good small-talk
topic in South Africa is sports. Address racial politics very carefully,
and avoid strong criticism of past or present regimes.


Sales & Marketing
According to at least one study, two types of sales and marketing
workers are in particularly high demand in South Africa: research
analysts and marketing managers. Foreigners may find it useful to
obtain licensing or certification through any of a number of
associations and organizations. The Institute for Market
Management, for instance, has begun to certify professionals with
Chartered Marketer status, which is intended to distinguish those
marketing professionals who are exemplary models of the changing
course of business in South Africa.

Other professional organizations for the sales and marketing fields
include the Association of Marketers, an organization that aims to
represent, protect, and promote the interests of South African
marketers in the name of creating a marketplace conducive to free
enterprise. Other professional organizations respond to the needs of
professionals in sales and sales management, advertising, and market
research. In addition to contacting these organizations, foreigners
seeking sales or marketing jobs would also do well to check out
periodicals such as Advantage.

General Business
While there is no formal category for general business or business
consulting jobs in South Africa, the types and number of consulting
careers are increasing. Typically, management consulting jobs require
a post-secondary education in marketing or general business
management. Relevant experience is also important, and licensing
and certification can be useful.

Professional associations for business and consulting professionals
include the International Guild of Certified Management Consultants,
which provides training that leads to the designation of Certified
Professional Consultant, and the Small Business Information Network,
which promotes and provides support to small, medium, and micro
businesses in order to contribute to equitable economic growth in
South Africa.

There are many useful business periodicals in South Africa, including
many published in English. The Business Times provides a wide range
of information on business-related topics.


This is only a small part what's available in the 75+ information packed pages of the Going Global Career Guide for South Africa:
 

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Country Career Guides Table of Contents

I. COUNTRY PROFILE

II. JOB-SEARCH RESOURCES
1.Online Job Sites
2.Government-Sponsored Employment Offices
3.Job Fairs/Career Events
4.Staffing Agencies/Temporary Help Firms
5.Newspapers that Publish Job Advertisements
6.Other Resources

III. EMPLOYMENT TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES

General Trends
Information Technology

1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Engineering
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Accounting and Finance
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Sales and Marketing
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
General Business
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources

IV. PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES
1.Business Organizations/Trade Councils
2.Chambers of Commerce
3.Telephone Directories
4.Publications
5.Other Resources

VI. FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS ( Cost of living, salaries, health insurance, taxes, vacation/leave, benefits, etc)

VII. WORK PERMITS/VISAS

VIII. JOB APPLICATION GUIDELINES
1.Cover Letter Guidelines and Sample
2.Resume/CV Guidelines and Samples

IX. INTERVIEWING ADVICE

X. CULTURAL ADVICE

XI. COUNTRY RESOURCE BOOKS