Most graduate professionals ‘confident about SA’

The majority of graduate professionals are confident about remaining in South Africa, with an average confidence level of 84% being recorded, according to a new survey for the first quarter of 2011 carried out by financial services provider PPS.

Gerhard Joubert, head of group marketing and stakeholder relations at PPS, says this result is extremely positive.

“Graduate professionals occupy key occupations, such as accountancy, engineering, medicine and law, many of which have a skills shortage, so it is very significant to see these people are confident of remaining in SA.”

He adds that a number of factors may have contributed to the result, including SA’s economy weathering the global financial crisis, its inclusion in the Brics group of emerging-market economies, the relatively stable political climate, opportunities available to graduate professionals due to skills shortages and the successful hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

“The current turmoil that is also taking place in a number of European countries in light of the sovereign debt crises may also have shown some South Africans that were considering a move that the grass is not always greener.”

Skills shortage
When asked about the opportunities available to practitioners working within their specific profession over the next 12 months, the survey revealed an overall confidence level of 77%.

Joubert says that, while the index shows the majority of South African professionals remain confident on issues within their control, this is not the case on other external factors such as crime, healthcare, education and unemployment.

The survey also revealed several areas of concern among graduate professionals. Respondents displayed a worrying 45% confidence level that the crime situation would improve over the next five years. Unemployment was also a massive concern, with confidence levels only marginally higher at 46%.

Confidence in the future of the healthcare system over the next five years and the standard of education over the same time period both scored a confidence level of 50%.

“We continue to suffer from an acute skills shortage in SA, particularly among a number of skilled professions such as medicine, accountancy and engineering. It is important that the concerns of all South Africans, not just graduate professionals, are taken into account and efforts are made to deal with these issues to keep our current skills and to attract expats back to the country,” says Joubert. — I-Net Bridge

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