Original Research

The nature, extent and effect of skills shortages on skills migration in South Africa

Fatima Rasool, Christoff J. Botha
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 9, No 1 | a287 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v9i1.287 | © 2011 Fatima Rasool, Christoff J. Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 March 2010 | Published: 15 July 2011

About the author(s)

Fatima Rasool, Potchefstroom Business School, North West University, South Africa
Christoff J. Botha, Potchefstroom Business School, North West University, South Africa


Orientation: South Africa is currently experiencing a serious shortage of skilled workers. It has a negative effect on South Africa’s economic prospects and on global participation in South Africa (SA). This skills shortage severely affects socioeconomic growth and development in SA.

Research purpose: This study focuses on the causes and effects of the skills shortages in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: The researchers undertook this study to highlight the role that skilled foreign workers can play in supplementing the shortage of skilled workers in South Africa. The shortage is partly because of the failure of the national education and training system to supply the economy with much-needed skills.

Research design, approach and method: The researchers undertook a literature study to identify the nature, extent and effect of skills shortages in South Africa. They consulted a wide range of primary and secondary resources in order to acquire an in-depth understanding of the problem. The article explains the research approach and method comprehensively. It also outlines the research method the researchers used.

Main findings: This study shows that several factors cause serious skills shortages in SA.

Practical/managerial implications: The researchers mention only two significant implications. Firstly, this article provides a logical description of the nature, extent and effect of skills shortages on the economy. Secondly, it indicates clearly the implications of skills shortages for immigration policy.

Contribution/value-add: This study confirms the findings of similar studies the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) conducted. Opening the doors to highly skilled immigrants can broaden the skills pool.


brain drain; emigration; globalisation; migration; push and pull factors


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