Skilled immigrants critical to S.Africa economy - CNBC Africa

Skilled immigrants critical to S.Africa economy

Southern Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

Sandra Burmeister says that the country is not producing the skills needed for a growing economy. PHOTO: Mechanical Engineers Directory

In the long term South Africa should focus on skilling its population, Sandra Burmeister, chief executive officer of Amrop South Africa told CNBC Africa.

(READ MORE: S.African businesses in search of new talent)

She added that the South African government should also capacitate Further Education Training (FET) institutions in the interim to help alleviate the deficit in the technical skills required in the economy.

“We are certainly not producing the skills we need for a growing economy for example the maths and science pass rate is still very low which is resulting in the deficit,” said Burmeister.

“We have a very large number of teachers in public schools who are not trained in maths and science which is part of the problem,” she added.

“There is an interesting mismatch in South Africa as on one hand we have high unemployment and on another hand we have a huge shortage of skilled employees.”

Burmeister posited that about 21 per cent of students matriculating had maths and science worsening the shortfall.

“This is not just a South African issue as the shortage is also experienced globally. In South Africa structurally the education system needs an overhaul as we come from a legacy of rural schools and outline areas that simply don’t have the same quality of education.”

(WATCH VIDEO: The prospects of S.Africa's education)

According to the World Economic Forum report South Africa is at number three of the highest unemployment marginally ahead of Greece and Portugal, economies that are regarded to have been most affected by the global recesion.

South Africa lost about one million jobs due to the global recession of 2009.

“I am not convinced that we have recovered the jobs we lost during the recession as our unemployment rate is still very high.”


As South Africa celebrates its youth month this June, the issue of unemployed youths has once again been brought to the fore as a major concern.

“We have a very high number of unemployed graduates coming out of universities but not equipped for the job market,” posited Burmeister.

About 550,000 students matriculate every year with a minute per cent enrolling either at FET centres or universities.