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News » AI boosts demand for tech jobs in South Africa

AI boosts demand for tech jobs in South Africa

Photo from Pnet’s Job Market Trends report

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA — As artificial intelligence (AI) threatens to automate countless jobs, South Africa is witnessing a paradoxical trend: a surge in demand for AI specialists and professionals. 

According to Pnet’s Job Market Trends report, which assesses hiring activities and job trends across the country using data from The Stepstone Group South Africa, AI roles such as data scientists (29%), data analysts (24%), and data engineers (16%) have seen substantial growth over the past year.

Other in-demand AI roles in South Africa are software developer (11%), machine learning specialist (9%), business analyst (4%), sales professional (4%) and IT architect (3%).

Anja Bates, Pnet’s head of data, emphasizes that AI is reshaping the business landscape at an “exponential rate.” 

“As much as AI might seem to be a distant and mysterious technology, we have already started embracing it and reaping the benefits in our everyday lives,” Bates stated.

Pnet’s findings showed optimism after CareerJunction revealed that hiring activity for software developers, in particular, has dropped substantially since 2019. They fell from the most in-demand skill to the third most sought-after behind project administration and business analysis.

This shift in demand for IT professionals is attributed to the global tech industry’s extensive job cuts in 2022 and 2023.

Statista said that South Africa’s AI market will reach $3.18 billion in 2024 and grow to $8.74 billion by 2030.

Some studies suggest automation may reduce wages or job growth overall, while others see AI driving new role creation. Recent studies also revealed that companies hire for AI roles and are willing to pay more as adoption grows. 

An International Monetary Fund report (IMF) revealed that AI exposure will be around 40% globally, with 60% of jobs affected in advanced economies. On the other hand, the IMF projects fewer immediate disruptions, with the technology set to affect 40% of jobs in emerging markets and just 26% of jobs in low-income countries.

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