These 'coronavirus jobs' are in demand in SA, including Covid-19 safety officers and tutors

Business Insider SA
  • There are still between 16% to 20% fewer online job ads in South Africa than at the start of the year. 
  • Cleaning positions, as well as restaurant and some retail jobs have been most affected.
  • But there are also new kinds of positions - including Covid-19 compliance and safety officers.
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At the start of the lockdown, 40% of online job ads in South Africa were scrapped, according to a new report compiled by Adzuna, an online job aggregator.

The situation has started to recover, but there remain between 16% and 20% fewer job ads online than at the start of 2020. For the first time since Adzuna started tracking job data, there are less than 62,000 live online ads in South Africa,  Jesse Green, country manager for Adzuna South Africa, told Business Insider.

Jobs that involve a lot of physical contact with others, especially part-time placements within the restaurant and catering industries, have been badly hit throughout lockdown. The reopening of restaurants for sit-down meals at the start of July has resulted in a small boost, Green notes. But opportunities at non-essential brick-and-mortar shops are still under pressure.

Cleaning vacancies (including domestic worker positions) have also been hit hard, Adzuna reported previously.

But while South Africa experienced an unprecedented drop in vacancies, new jobs are also being created, says Green.

There are currently numerous "Covid-19" positions available in South Africa, Adzuna's data shows. These primarily include jobs for registered nurses, as well as pharmacy assistants and occupational health specialists who can help companies assist sick workers.

“It is interesting to see how this public health disaster is creating a range of jobs aimed at containing the disease. Jobs like pharmacist’s assistant and registered nurse have risen quickly. But we expect the demand for these skills to increase even more over the coming months,” Green says.

Anglo American is currently advertising for a bio-medical technologist, for the management of its Covid-19 site lab

There are also a number of ads for "Covid safety officers", a new job position for people who can develop, implement, and improve health and safety plans, programmes and procedures in the workplace. Applicants require a national diploma in safety management. 

"Covid-19 compliance officers" are also needed to maintain Covid-19 health and safety records for site-based staff, booking staff for medicals if required and taking temperatures of all staff. 

There are also more positions in sanitising products sales. "With the amount of sanitising that has to happen as companies open up after the lockdown, the demand for sales agents specialising in health and hygiene has increased considerably," Green says.

Ads for sewing machine experts have also increased, as well as for the manufacturing of masks and other personal protective equipment.

Due to the lockdown, there had been an exponential rise in remote working positions in South Africa, Green says. She believes the crisis will spare the majority of positions within agriculture, finance, science, and technical sectors.

“Our educational landscape has also been transformed by the pandemic. Even before lockdown, distance education was something that a lot of South Africans were considering. Adzuna expects “home-schooler” to become a sought-after role, possibly something for current teachers to shift to in their careers.” There are currently a number of positions for tutors online.

Adzuna previously noted that there was a sharp increase in the vacancies for social workers, presumably as part of government’s plan to recruit hundreds of social workers to help families affected by the lockdown.

Adzuna, which is headquartered in the UK, compiles online jobs data for a number of countries and found that the local job vacancy situation was somewhat better than in Australia, Singapore and the US, where the number of vacancies are down by around a third from the start of the year (in South Africa it’s down between 16% and 20%).

South Africa is more in line with Italy, where there are 18% less advertised vacancies compared to January.

Other markets are faring much better. Poland has had a complete “job advert recovery”, with vacancies now 3% higher than at the start of the year. In France, advertised vacancies are down only 2% and in Germany 4%.

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