SA skills are in demand globally

Although 69% of organisations interviewed for this survey outsource digital and ICT work to other countries, more than half of the respondents (55%), indicated that they service other international markets from South Africa.  By way of definition international, or globally traded services (GTS), can be defined within different modes including cross-border trade where goods and services are delivered from the territory of nearshore or far-shore countries into the territories of other markets. Another mode – consumption-abroad – includes the supply of services from one country to consumers in another country.[1]


Those organisations that service global markets from South Africa predominantly service other African countries (30%), the United Kingdom (22%) the United States (16%) and Australia (13%). Other markets serviced from within South Africa include Germany (7%), France (7%) and Canada (5%). This key finding points to the fact that South African skills and expertise are also very much in demand globally, and indicates the significant role that the skills ecosystem has in enabling the country to compete effectively across various areas of global and digitally-traded services.  

Global vertical industries serviced by South African organisations

Below is an indication of the top vertical industries serviced by 55% of survey respondents for international markets. These services include global business services (including business process outsourcing), digital and ICT outsourcing, and the trade and exports of goods and services to these countries. This chart reflects the diversity of services and expertise provided to global markets by South Africa, and the significant growth potential this represents for the country with regards to job creation and additional export revenue.

There are significant job creation opportunities that can be developed when the potential of reshoring digital and ICT work back to South Africa is coupled with the added potential of growing South Africa’s share of global and digitally-traded services. In addition, an estimated 28,800 digital and ICT jobs that have been outsourced to other countries could be reshored back to the country over the next decade if the right financial and non-financial incentives – and concurrent rskilling programmes – are implemented.[2]

[1] Source: ICT and Digital Masterplan for South Africa

[2] Sources: BPESA GBS Job Reports | Knowledge Executive Source Data | Genesis Analytics | South Africa in the Digital Age (SADA) July 2020