Africa is set to steer the new economic order in 15 years’ time, according to a report by Bloomberg, as it constitutes some major advances in production and output. The continent is favourable with untapped wealth, oil and gas supplies and uncultivated arable land, and has a young demographic with 50% of the continent’s population under the age of 34. Coupled with an urgent need for infrastructure across Africa’s 54 countries to support other essential developments, the opportunities are there for more jobs in Africa.
The largest industry on the continent is agriculture, which attributes a big chunk of GDP for most countries on the continent, followed by oil and mining. The agricultural sector employs about 60% of jobs in Africa, with the main income sources from large farms which produce products such as coffee, cocoa, cotton and rubber.
The prospects of growth for the continent are looking up, with the vibrant and young population of Africa set to make strides in various industries that are set to boom.
Here’s a look at 10 jobs that will be the most sought after jobs in Africa in the near future:
Africa’s largest economic sector is agriculture, accounting for 15% of the continent’s GDP. The continent’s agro-ecological potential is larger than its current output, as is its food requirements. Infrastructure and investment into this sector will be the two important key points to its growth, with infrastructure set to grow as Africa rapidly urbanizes, doubling the world average of urbanization. Farmers will be important drivers of the economy, producing food and goods such as coffee and cocoa.
Entering into this sector would require a degree in agriculture where skills learned include agricultural business such as commercial research and advisory work, agricultural sales, food production, farming journalism and farm management. The highest paid careers in agriculture include Agricultural Engineering, where scientific engineering principles and agricultural practice are applied to agricultural problems and employees earn an excess of $60,000; Veterinary – which pertains to the healthcare of animals and employees earn an average salary of over $24 000, and Agricultural Management, which pertains to the business management of a farm where employees can earn in excess of $90,000 a year.
Due to Africa’s booming economy and high urbanization rate, infrastructure will become vital to the continent’s growth. Banking systems, telecommunications, transportation, property, sewage, water and electrical systems will have to be constructed or improved, all needing skilled professions. The continent has a huge and profitable opportunity to explore and create green and sustainable energy, such as North Africa’s potential to be one of the main creators of renewable solar and wind energy.
Skills for infrastructure can be absorbed from the fields of town planning, engineering, construction, business, architecture and technology. Not only does a career in infrastructure require you to purchase bricks, mortar, cement and raw materials, but it also needs planning where structures will fit on the land received, how buildings will look and function and a sound knowledge on economics and market share prices.
In the field of building and construction, engineering takes first prize for the highest paying field, with structural engineering (which pertains to the conceptualization of building design, stability and durability) leading the pack. Structural engineers can earn an average salary of $4,600 per month. In the ICT sector, Technical and business architects, and business analysis are the highest paid, averaging a monthly salary of over $4,400. Technical architects design software application of computer systems, while business architects plan and execute business strategy to connect people, work processes and technology for the successful running of a business. Actuaries are the highest paid in the finance field, earning an average monthly salary of over $4,100. Actuarial science uses mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in insurance, finance and other industries and professions. To get into these fields, a Bachelor of Science degree (in the specific fields) is needed.
Extractive activities in minerals and energy sectors are currently responsible for economic growth in the West African region. Mining is set to grow as the continent boasts ample natural resources such as oil, diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver and petroleum. With growth in mining comes the knock-off effect of growth in transportation, infrastructure and information and communication technologies (ICT). The oil and gas industry sector has become an important sector for the continent’s economic growth as 19 African countries are significant oil producers. It has also become a prime mover for employment, domestic power development, and infrastructure development such as schools, hospitals and real estate.
Mining is quite a broad sector, with jobs for professionals including scientists, engineers, geologists, surveyors, drillers, information and communications technology professionals, power plant operators and human resource managers. Key areas of study include engineering, geology, science and economics.
Mining engineering is the highest paying field across most career sectors as extracting minerals is lucrative for any economy. Mining engineers earn an average monthly salary of over $6,074, and ensure the planning, safety, design, operation, management and sustainability of mines as well as the environmentally sound extraction of resources from our earth. Geophysics is a correlating and equally lucrative career field of mining engineering as it deals with studying gravity, magnetic, electrical, and seismic methods of the Earth to evaluate environmental hazards, dams or areas of construction, and to find minerals such as copper and iron. Geophysicists can earn an average salary of over $98,700 per year.
The service sector has seen a boom in recent years as Africa’s middle class grows and has more purchasing power for services, particularly in the West African region. Banking and financial services, ICT and retail services have experienced a boom in recent years, with the underlying reason being that the African consumer is on the rise.
Entering into this sector would need skills in business management, retail management, economics and accounting. Brand management and marketing would also serve well as selling products requires good marketing, and sales and advertising is also a key skill as speaking to consumers will be what keeps this sector afloat.
A career in the service sector goes beyond merely being a cashier or a teller, which is the lowest paid job in this sector with an average monthly salary of over $440. With the rise of more malls and stores on the continent, demand will be high for store operators, human resources managers, finance and administration, buyers, customer care contacts, marketing, logistics, ICT and visual merchandisers. The field of human resources offers the highest pay with an average monthly salary of over $2,300. In the marketing sector, marketing managers, market researchers and brand managers are the highest paid with an average monthly salary of over $3500. Financial managers, who are responsible for managing a company’s funds to ensure that the company accomplishes its objectives, are sought after, averaging a yearly salary of over $34,000. Merchandise planners and buyers also sought after as they purchase merchandise to sell to customers, considering their clientele, making commercially viable merchandise available at competitive prices and maximizing profits. Merchandisers can earn a yearly salary of over $20,000.
Banking and Finance
Africa’s banking sector has grown significantly over the years due to the growth of business and the consumer class. It is predicted that the sector will continue to provide attractive opportunities as governments allow private banks to operate and as the consumer class continues to grow. This provides employment seekers with ample opportunities in finance industries such as actuarial sciences, accountants and auditors.
The banking and finance sector is a broad one in terms of the types of careers one can do. There are 6 broad career fields in this sector, including financial management, insurance, stock brokering and asset management, financial advisory (such as auditing), banking (such as investment banking) and finance (such as chartered accountancy, taxation and payroll and wages). A degree in accounting, actuarial sciences or economics will serve well in providing skills in this sector. Actuaries are the highest paid in the finance field, earning an average monthly salary of over $4,100. Actuarial sciences will become more important on the content as the sciences deal with calculated risk assessments in companies, thus playing an advisory and growth role in a business.
Chartered accountants also play a significant role in business as they maximize company profitability through assisting in accounting processes and system, taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, corporate finance, business recovery. CAs can earn an average monthly salary of over $3,800. Risk management and investment banking are the highest paid career fields in banking with an average monthly salary of over $3,900. Risk management includes working with corporations to forecast and evaluate financial risks in business and identifying procedures to minimize their impact, and investment banking pertains to the creation of capital for individuals, corporations or governments by underwriting new debt and equity securities and providing guidance to issuers regarding the issue and placement of stock. Auditing is the highest paid field in the financial advisory sector with an average monthly salary of over $3,500.
An auditor examines and verifies a firm’s financial statements to ensure that the company’s business objectives are met and to prevent or flag misappropriation of funds. Asset management is also a lucrative career field in banking with an average monthly salary of over $3,100. Asset managers manage a company’s investments on their behalf through a systematic process of deploying, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets cost effectively. Financial managers, who are responsible for managing a company’s funds to ensure that the company accomplishes its objectives, can earn a monthly salary of over $3,500.
Overall, a career in banking and finance is and will be a sought after career as businesses boom on the continent, thus increasing the importance of the management of those businesses.
Information and Communication Technology
ICT is currently a major driver of economy on the continent, with mobile phone usage being the highest in the world primarily due to low internet connectivity. As infrastructure grows, investment in the growth of ICT infrastructure will grow rapidly and the continent will see a growth in demand for software developers, Systems & Network Administrators, Business & System Analysts and Database, Technical and business architects, and business analysis.
Skills required for this sector include computer science, physics, maths and management information systems as the field is heavy on analytical thinking. The web design and graphic design fields require a creative and artistic brain as well as an eye for detail.
The most sought after and highest paid fields in ICT are technical and business architecture, as well as business analysis. Monthly salaries in these fields average over $4,400. Technical architects are the designers of software application of computer systems, while business architects are the planners and executers of business strategy to connect people, work processes and technology for the successful running of a business. Web development and web design is and will be a sought after career field as businesses increase on the continent, with the need for a website containing the companies’ information increasing in demand.
Web designers and developers earn an average salary of over $2,900, and this is predicted to increase as this grows to become a sought after and high-end skill. Web development uses computer science and maths in the coding and configuration of a website’s functionality according to client needs, while web design incorporates the processes of conceptualizing, planning, and building to determine the layout, colors, text styles, structure, graphics, images, and interactive features that deliver pages to a website. This design is what enables users to browse through the site.
Entrepreneurship on the continent has been growing significantly over the past few years and is said to become one of the main providers of employment on the continent. According to a report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest number of people involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity, with Zambia and Nigeria leading the world rankings. Africa also leads the world in the number of women starting businesses, with almost equal levels of male and female entrepreneurs. A current problem that African entrepreneurs face is the discontinuance of business before they hit the 3 year mark due to failure of making a profit. However, Africa’s overall economy is improving, and with improvement in economy comes the decrease in discontinuance as businesses are able to access funding, market research and education.
US President Barack Obama praised young entrepreneurs and business people in Africa during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya in July 2015. He stated that Africa is on the move, with poverty being lifted and incomes rising along with the middle class primarily because of entrepreneurship. He stated that entrepreneurs are harnessing technology to change the way Africa is doing business.
To become an entrepreneur, one has to have a knack for business; therefore a degree in accounting, business management and economics will serve well. Also, a sound knowledge of the industry one is interesting into is a necessity.
Transportation and Logistics
As the economy improves and businesses become established, transportation, logistics and warehousing will become significant. The continent still has a significant amount of improvements to make on road, rail and ports transport networks, thus opening the door to investment opportunities. Logistics infrastructure is set to unlock Africa’s economic growth while providing its people with employment opportunities. Also, logistics is essential in any manufacturing process as it links all the stages from finding raw materials to delivering the finished product.
A career in transportation would require sound knowledge of construction, architecture, town planning and logistics engineering and management, as well as business management. This career field absorbs graduates from all fields as it is supply chain driven. The perfect candidate for this job is one who enjoys planning, organization, practicality and technical skill. Logistics managers, who are the planners and implementers of distribution processes between suppliers and customers and who are the strategic planners of an organization’s supply chain processes, are the highest paid in this field, earning a monthly average salary of over $4,100, and supply chain consultants are the second highest paid, earning a monthly average salary of over $2,800.
Truck driving will soon become one of the most sought after jobs in Africa as demand for goods transportation and the improvement of roads increase. Currently, the average annual salary for truck drivers, particularly in South Africa, is over $9,500, which is significantly low as compared to Walmart truck driving jobs that offer $71,500 per year before bonuses. Truck driving instructors, truck driving recruiters as well as truck drivers specializing in interstate driving, liquid hauling as well as mining goods hauling will soon be the highest paid professionals in the trucking industry.
Economic growth on the continent will increase the demand of logistics and transportation as goods and the requirement to move them to and from various destinations increase.
In recent years, Africa’s entertainment industry has caught the attention of the world, with many actors, musicians and filmmakers flooding the international market with their work. The rise of Nollywood, which is Nigeria’s film market, produces about 50 movies per week, second only to India’s Bollywood and more than America’s Hollywood and generating over $590 million annually according to the UN’s Africa Renewal Online. Growth in ICT has greatly assisted the growth of entertainment, specifically with digital migration and accessibility to more channels for content distribution and mobile technology for content to be consumed on a mass scale. With more channels available for programming and an increase in demand for African content, the African entertainment industry is set to become an economic and cultural leader in its own right. In fact, the fastest growth is expected to be seen from the internet and mobile phones, with the mobile video games leading the pack. Apart from transferring money, African consumers use mobile phones to access entertainment and information, and this is set to grow as the African middle class grows.
This industry requires skilled professionals who can bring the imagination to life. Career fields include journalism, linguistics, music, film and television, dramatic arts, sound engineering, events management, radio, fine arts and feature writing for websites and various publications. A bachelor’s degree in Arts, Dramatic Arts, Fine Arts, Film Production and Sound Engineering plus a knack for creativity would serve entrants into this sector well. Sound knowledge in business management and economics will serve creatives well as they will create businesses from their art.
Overall, the entertainment sector is the lowest paid sector, with salaries capping at an average monthly salary of $2,900 if one is in the multimedia field, which specializes in using computers to text, graphics, video, animation, and sound in an integrated way.
The entertainment sector absorbs graduates from most fields, with the important point that one has an eye for talent and creativity. Having a knack for business is also an advantage. A case in point would be current Senior Vice-President and Managing Director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa Alex Okosi, who graduated magna cum laude with a double major in Business Administration and Economics from St Michael’s College in Vermont, US and launched MTV Base – the company’s first localized MTV service for Africa- and has been responsible for building and driving the growth of a multimedia portfolio of VIMN, namely MTV, VH1 Classic, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET. Journalism, writing and editing is the second highest paid field in entertainment with an average monthly salary of $2,300. Journalists, writers and editors will soon be in demand as news publications on the continent grow in numbers, as content producers for websites grow and as the demand for African literature grows in popularity with the growth of the continent as a cultural and economic hub.
Social media has also taken the continent by storm, with Facebook being the most popular social media network on the continent, with the biggest markets being in Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria. Social media skills will soon be in demand as businesses incorporate social media strategies into their business, mainly in the forms of marketing and extended communication. The most sought after jobs in social media will be search engine optimization specialists, who deal with analyzing websites and designing strategies to market website content on the internet and thus increasing the website readership; social media strategists, who create and grow companies’ public profiles on social media; online community managers, who interact with a company’s social media community; social media marketing managers, who oversee the design and execution of social media marketing strategies and bring the company’s brand to the forefront and social media bloggers or copy writers, who create content for a company’s social media community. The social media field currently offers annual salaries from $4,700 to $36,000.
Tourism is a booming industry in Africa, contributing 8.5% to the continent’s GDP and over 2% of employment in hotels, travel agencies, airlines and other passenger transportation services, restaurants and leisure industries. The continent is still considered as a hidden gem, therefore sparking interest in any avid traveller, and vast strides have been taken by most of the continent’s governments to make Africa attractive to tourists travelling for leisure reasons. The tourism industry should see a further spike in the near future.
Professionals entering into this sector would need to study specialized programmes in tourism and hospitality management. These programmes provide fundamental knowledge in tourism, economics, food service, customer service, law, hospitality and legal issues. They also provide basic training in entrepreneurship and marketing. Career fields include travel counseling, events management, hotels and resorts, cruise industry and airlines.
Hotel managers, specifically hospitality directors – who are responsible for the smooth running of the hotel or lodging – are the highest paid employees in the tourism field, with an average monthly salary of over $2,900. The executive chef, who is responsible for all aspects of the kitchen from hygiene to food presentation, is the second highest paid employee in the tourism field with an average monthly salary of over $1,700. The best job in the tourism field is event coordinating, which can pay up to $46,000 annually.
By Nelly Gachanja