Last week we talked you through how to create a weekly routine. We believe one of the first things you should do when moving to a new country is to create a weekly routine. It helps to give you the certainty and structure you crave. Whether you are in full time employment or have time to fill, here are our suggestions on how you can gain new skills and further your career whilst living in Johannesburg.
VOLUNTEERING OR WORKING FOR AN NPO/NGO
In general, South Africa is a fairly advanced country when it comes to most kinds of technological and industrial development, but what you’ll find is that there is a glaring gap between those who have access to the direct benefits of this development and those who don’t.
It’s no secret that South Africa is one of the most economically unequal countries in the world, with a large gap between the rich elite and the poor, which unfortunately is the majority of the population, who historically have also not had access to optimal education and employment opportunities.
As a visitor and expat, this economic divide can be very overwhelming and uncomfortable, but there is a lot that you can do to contribute to organisations that are working to build an economy that supports education, entrepreneurs and the growth of small to medium businesses (SME’s).
As Johannesburg, and Gauteng, have the largest population density in the country, you’ll find no lack of opportunities to work with people if that is something you are interested in. As ad hoc volunteering is welcomed, but often not conducive to sustainable change, taking up a more extended position at a local or international NGO could be an option if you are looking to do something rewarding with your time in South Africa.
NGO Pulse is an online publication that gives a broad overview of the Non-Profit and Non-Governmental landscape in South Africa, and also lists available vacancies: http://www.ngopulse.org/
For Good is an online search engine that connects your skills and availability to current opportunities.
It’s often worthwhile to contact an organisation that works in an area that you’re passionate about and ask about how to get involved. Volunteering is a big tourism-industry in South Africa, which charges international visitors to take part in volunteer and internship programmes, so it can helpful to sidestep this, unless this is affordable or something of interest to you (the main target market for these programmes are university students and recent graduates).
SETTING UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Following on from the information above, unemployment is a huge problem in South Africa, so setting up your own business can be a great opportunity for you, in a country so geared towards entrepreneurship, but also an opportunity to pass on your skills to a local and help them grow their career (if you choose to hire someone, for example).
Depending on your visa and what work you’re allowed to do, here are some ideas of growing industries in South Africa to consider:
eCOMMERCE PLATFORMS: with the success of online retailers like Yuppiechef, Superbalist and One Day Only, this industry is growing as people start to trust online retailers more and courier services become more efficient.
VIRTUAL ROLES: Virtual assistants are becoming more and more popular, and with increasing numbers of people starting up online businesses, support assistance is needed. This is most needed for administrative and marketing support, so it could be worthwhile investigating a role that suits your skills and needs, and which could also provide some flexibility.
EDUCATION: With an education system that is changing but has historically not served the majority of the population, especially in more rural areas, there is definitely a need for skills development and education in all areas, so investing your time in supporting an educational initiative could be very worthwhile.
Skills development is also a major component of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), which aims to rectify the injustices of the past by prioritising the development of previously disadvantaged individuals: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Economic_Empowerment
In consideration of the above, it’s important to note that due to the economic and employment situation discussed above, BEE has been introduced to bridge the gap created by historic lack of access to education and employment. This means that preference will always be given to locals who conform to the relevant criteria, so keep this in mind when applying for a job as a foreigner.
Want to find out how to start up your own business? Or explore options on how you can work here, we often run online webinars and meet up events to discuss the opportunities. Come join our Careers Network, we run workshops, provide mentorship opportunities, and link you to freelance jobs when they become available. Click here for further information.
Traditional Job Opportunities
It’s not impossible to get a job in South Africa, especially if you have certain critical skills and speak different languages, but you will need to go through an extensive process to apply, as you would have to do in many other countries.
For more detailed jobs listings, here are some popular websites:
Also be sure to make use of social media pages and groups, as it’s common to find anything you’re looking for through Facebook and through informal networks.
It’s more old school, but also keep an eye out for listings in local community newspapers and other newspapers, as you never know! Noticeboards at supermarkets at local community centres like libraries and schools also post job listings.
Networking Events and Associations:
With online networking a lot more popular in South Africa than ever before, it can also be helpful to join a local organisation or group to meet people and discover all kinds of opportunities.
Or our own - Translating Joburg membership club. We are always looking for people who would like to support those new arrivals, and learn new skills, particularly within digital marketing and media. Contact us for further job opportunities.
If you speak a foreign language, want to learn one, or are interested in expanding your international network, these organisations are also very active in the city:
If your visa is very restrictive, working remotely is your best option, we have put together a range of ideas to kickstart a potentially exciting and lucrative online career:
For more information on visa requirements, and how to get started with a business in SA request contact one of our local assistants who can book a consultation with our specialist lawyer for you.