• 02 Sep 2019
  • SBS-ED
  • 9Min

How to become more employable in your city

How to become more employable in your city

South African cities: Where to live to have your best possible career

  • On average, Capetonians now earn more than Joburgers
  • Rentals still way lower up north though
  • Best city for you depends on your profession
  • Short courses to finesse hard and soft skills give best chance of success

Adulting comes with a range of highly important questions. What should I eat for breakfast? What should I watch on Netflix? Did I buy electricity? Which city is the best for my career? How can I land my dream job? We can’t help you with the first two, but thanks to some amazing recent studies, here are some insights that might help you choose the right city in South Africa for a thriving career.

Where should I live to earn the best salary?

The rivalry between Johannesburg and Cape Town is as old as, um, Joburg… Cape Town has the sea, Jozi has Emerentia. Cape Town is the mother city, Joburg is the city of gold. Cape Town has the chilled lifestyle, Joburg has the higher salaries – or does it? It seems that, according to a study by recruitment platform Adzuna, Cape Town salaries have overtaken Joburg, with the average advertised CT salary being R14 888 more on average that Joburg.

Where should I live for the best cost of living?

But when it comes to cost of living, the picture looks a little different. According to the same Adzuna study, as reported in thesouthafrican.com, this is how much salary goes toward rent in each city on average; an excellent barometer of the cost of living in the city:

  • Cape Town – 38%
  • Sandton – 37%
  • Richards Bay – 26%
  • Centurion – 23%
  • George – 22%
  • Pietermaritzburg – 22%
  • Paarl – 21%
  • Durban – 21%
  • Pretoria – 20%
  • East London – 19%
  • Johannesburg – 18%
  • Port Elizabeth – 17%
  • Bloemfontein – 16%
  • Polokwane – 11%

Which city offers better opportunities in my industry?

It is no secret that certain careers are more likely to thrive in a specific city where the industry is stronger and where the leading companies in South Africa are based. Here, at a glance is a list of which location to choose if you are in a certain field, according to CareerJunction’s salary survey:

Architecture & engineering

Gauteng (GP) jobs pay on average 3 to 9% higher than Western Cape (WC) and Kwazulu Natal (KZN)

Building & construction

GP again comes up tops, then KZN, then WC

Warehousing & logistics

Here you can expect to earn roughly the same in GP and the WC, and quite a bit less in KZN.


Again, WC and GP are on a par, with KZN significantly lower.

Medical & health

Here there are no major differences between the three provinces surveyed.


GP salaries in finance are significantly higher than in the Western Cape. KZN is even lower than WC.


GP is the top location for earning in marketing; marketers in the WC earn between 12 and 17% less than their Jozi-based counterparts.

Drilling down into some specifics (thanks to an article in BusinessTech) the following are some of the fastest growing careers in SA.

If you work in Business Development, you can expect to earn:

  • GP: R 33,139 to R 43,147 pm
  • WC: R 31,468 to R 37,992 pm
  • KZN: R 28,136 to R 37,803 pm

In Client/Customer Support

  • GP: R 18,534 to R 23,227 pm
  • WC: R 16,091 to R 21,186 pm
  • KZN: R 12,823 to R 16,842 pm

In Systems/Network Administration

  • GP: R 27,341 to R 35,935 pm
  • WC: R 23,865 to R 35,306 pm
  • KZN: Not available

According to the article: “The data shows that the IT, business & management and finance sectors are the most sought after sectors, followed by the sales, admin, office & support and architecture & engineering sectors, among others listed.”

When looking at active job seekers across various sectors (indicated by the supply graph), areas of high supply correlate closely to areas of high demand, however supply outstrips demand in some areas, leading to a competitive environment for job seekers. The opposite is seen for some industries.

“The sales, marketing and construction sectors have seen a notable uptake in jobs since the onset of 2019.”

How can I become more employable in my city of choice?

There are a number of things you can do to get into the job market, ace interviews and thrive in your career.

  • Carefully research the job market to find the most in-demand skills that employers are looking for
  • Make sure you are equipping yourself with as many in-demand hard and soft skills as possible. According to The Balance, the top skills employers are looking for in 2019 are: analytical skills, communication, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, positive attitude, teamwork and technical skills
  • And finally package yourself to perfection via a CV that does more than list your biography – it is your entrance point to opportunity, so make it stand out. According to BusinessTech the perfect CV in 2019 is made up of 9 key characteristics which include design, easy to access contact information, skills and ‘extra stuff’ that adds colour and sets you apart.

Finding the right short course to get a job is key to mastering both hard and soft skills. At USB-ED, we have a variety of courses covering the development of leadership and team skills, management coaching and a range of management courses that can help broaden and deepen your skills to ensure you thrive in your career.

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