Health, safety, enviro and Sheq among scarce skills in SA

The top scarce skills in SA include Environmental Engineer, Sheq Practitioner, Environmental Manager, Health and Safety Manager, and Quality Systems Manager.

Among the top 30 scarce skills in South Africa are Sheq-related managers (marked **), listed here in order of job market demand, and with their NQF OFO numbers (see definitions below);

Electrical Engineer 215101
Civil Engineer 214201
Mechanical Engineer 214401
Quantity Surveyor 214904
Programme or Project Manager 121905
Finance Manager 121101
Physical and Engineering Science Technicians 311
Industrial and Production Engineers 2141
Electrician 671101
Chemical Engineer 214501
Construction Project Manager 132301
Mining Engineer 214601
Accountant (General) 241101
**Energy Engineer 215103
Materials Engineer 214907
Electronics Engineer 215201
Metallurgical Engineer 214603
Medical Superintendent / Public Health Manager 134201
Public Health Physician 221103
Nursing Professionals 2221
Registered Nurse (child and family health) 332102
General Medical Practitioner 221101
Veterinarian 225101
Industrial Pharmacist 226202
Hospital Pharmacist 226201
**Environmental Engineer 2143
Retail Pharmacist 226203
**SHEQ Practitioner 226302
Air Conditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber 642701
Automotive Electrician 672106

Among the rest of the top 100 scarce skills are also some Sheq-related practices;

Personnel or Human Resource Manager 121201
Environmental Manager 134901
Health and Safety Manager 121206
Water Quality Analyst 213306
Occupational Instructor or Trainer 242402
Quality Systems Manager 121908

Occupational cluster codes

Occupational clusters relevant to Sheq practices include;
2143 Environmental Engineers
214301 Environmental Engineer
214302 Environmental Impact and Restoration Analyst
2221 Nursing Professionals
222101 Clinical Nurse Practitioner
222108 Registered Nurse (Community Health) (Critical Care and Emergency) (Disability and Rehabilitation)
222114 Nurse Educator
2321 Vocational or Further Education Teachers
311303 Energy Efficiency Technician
311502 Boilers and Pressure Vessels Inspector
311705 Mine Ventilation Observer
311706 Rock Engineering Technician
311707 Strata Control Officer
311901 Forensic Technician (Biology, Toxicology)
311902 Fire Investigator
311906 Environmental Engineering Technician

The state labour survey was published in the Government Gazette of 23 May 2014, number 37678, under General notice 380 of 2014, to inform human resource planning and development, and to guide the development of qualifications, programmes and curricula.

The National Scarce Skills List will be reviewed every two years, unless the Minister of Higher Education and Training deems it necessary to review the list earlier.

Scarce skills refer to “occupations in which there are a scarcity of qualified and experienced people, currently or anticipated in the future, either because such skilled people are not available or they are available but do not meet employment criteria.”

Occupation definition
‘OCCUPATION’ refers to a set of jobs or specialisations whose main tasks are characterised by such a high degree of similarity that they can be grouped together for the purposes of classification. Occupations are classified according to two main criteria: (a) skill level and (b) skill specialisation, where skill is used in the context of competency rather than a description of tasks or functions.

Skill definition
‘SKILL’ is defined as “the necessary competencies that can be expertly applied in a particular context for a defined purpose” and “competence” has three elements:

a) Practical competence – ability to perform a set of tasks;
b) Foundational competence – ability to understand what we ourselves or others are doing and why; and
c) Reflexive competence – ability to integrate or connect our performance with an understanding of the performance of others, so that we can learn from our actions and are able to adapt to changes and unforeseen circumstances.

OFO structure
The ORGANISING FRAMEWORK OF OCCUPATIONS is a skill-based coded classification system, which encompasses all occupations in the South African context. The classification of occupations is based on a combination of skill level and skill specialisation which makes it easy to locate a specific occupation within the framework.

‘JOB’ refers to a set of tasks and duties carried out or meant to be carried out, by one person for a particular employer, including self-employment.

There is a dire shortage of engineers, technologists, technicians and artisans across a range of disciplines. The HRDC report highlights the need for the production of professionals in engineering, mining, health care and the built environment.

• This post contains extracts from the National Scarce Skills List in the Government Gazette of 23 May 2014, GG 37678. Visit

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7 thoughts on “Health, safety, enviro and Sheq among scarce skills in SA

  1. Why? Because the qualified people have left South Africa. Why? Because the government is intent on a programme of discrimination regardless of mitigating factors such as 1. previously disadvantaged people who are not living a priviledged life are still considered previously disadvantaged. 2. Persons who could fall into the category of disadvantanged whether previously or not, cannot be classified previously disadvantaged or disadvantaged because of their skin colour. Why? Because there is political mileage in playing the same cards again and again, and the politiicians (the majority) in reality want an easy job funded by the tax-payer. Why? Because that is the right of the previously disadvantaged. Why? Because being African has a limited definition when applied for the purposes of political advantage. What now? The loss of skills will continue, even if, the Universities churn out triple the skilled workers in the catergories mentioned in the article. Why? Because people are not stupid, and if a person can have a better standard of life in return for the effort they expend as part of a collective society, which distributes the taxes evenly and equitably, and gives them better services, they will go – why not?

    So, how is this problem solved? Not easily. In fact there is no single answer. The collective South African society needs to pull together, with shared values, respect for life and an eagerness to improve, each individual taking responsiblity for themselves and their dependants, helping those less fortunate where they can. Great societies in the last 150 years have pulled together after adverse events and established world leading economies in just a few decades. Where is South Africa, 20 years on from true democracy? Still circling the same debate and conversation over the same topics without actually moving forward by empowering the people living in shacks – building big kraals is far important.

    Health and safety in South Africa means nothing if people are actually currently safer and healthier at work then they are living at home, travelling to work and just walking around trying to enjoy a happy life free of the worry of being stabbed, shot, mugged, robbed, raped, tortured, and murdered.

  2. Passionate about SHEQ do not know where to start please advise.

    ==== Editor notes; The answers depend on your prior education, training, and experience; your chosen industry, your aptitude, your timeframe and budget for training, and your recourse to add relevant expeprience to that training. The return on investment is typically low and slow.
    Among the rules of thumb are to favour a primary profession, with local managerial experience, adding health and safety by way of overseas tertiary training and qualifications.

    1. If you are passionate about anything, you will take the first, most commonly used step. GOOGLE! Do not know where to start? Try grade 1.
      Frankly, I doubt your passion, which makes me wonder if we need another dead duck in the sheq pond. Hunting season is not open yet.

      1. Sorry Koos, we do not employ Safety Orifices. We don’t need them, do not want them and never will. Our employees do not stop working, do not get injured, do not take leave, don’t go on strike, requires no annual leave, pension or medical aid.
        Because they are Computers. We run one of the largest data centres in the country. And if you really piss me off, I can always hack into your bank account and tell everyone here, how much you really get paid 🙂

      2. Good luck with that…….if you was such a hot shot IT guy, why is you playing around with elf ‘n safety files? I rest my cases your majesty.

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