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Last update on 25/07/2022

A job seeker’s guide on where to look for recruitment agencies and job vacancies in Cape Town whether you’re looking for part-time jobs, IT jobs, or other fields of work in the city.

With its diverse economy and developing infrastructure, Cape Town provides an abundance of job opportunities for expats. Although local laws make it difficult for internationals to secure jobs, skilled employees are in short supply thus South African businesses, including in Cape Town, are open to hiring foreign nationals.

This guide provides useful information and insights about jobs in Cape Town including:

What’s the employment market like for job seekers in Cape Town?

Although immigration laws in South Africa make it more difficult for expats looking for work in Cape Town, there is still a lot of optimism over the continuation of jobs for skilled workers.

The majority of skilled and educated workers from South Africa have moved overseas. As a result, there are large gaps in the Cape Town job market across virtually every sector and companies are open to hiring foreign nationals with the right qualifications and experience.

Because a large percentage of the population in Cape Town are unskilled, unemployment rate is high. In 2016, 26.6% of the city were without jobs.

Whilst there are opportunities for expats with relevant qualifications in skilled industries, wages are relatively low compared with other developed nations. Whilst you can expect to live in Cape Town relatively comfortably, the weakness of the Rand makes traveling outside South Africa costly.

However, the economy is improving, and because of its highly affordable cost of living and stunning landscapes, Cape Town is attracting entrepreneurs wanting to start a business in South Africa, particularly in creative fields. The city was the World Design Capital in 2014.

Entrepreneurs or established companies looking to expand into an overseas market could potentially have considerable success, and freelancers with the capacity to win work online from their own country can expect to live a comfortable life in Cape Town.

Although finding a good job in Cape Town can be a challenge for some expats, work experience and relevant qualifications that are accepted by the South African Qualifications Association (SAQA) give you an advantage over locals.

Furthermore, the relaxed approach to work in South Africa can feel like a refreshing change to the pressure environments that are typical in other countries.

Who can work in Cape Town?

Unless you have relevant qualifications and experience in an industry that requires in-demand skills, finding a job in Cape Town will be extremely difficult.

Even if your spouse is South African and you have a permanent South African residency visa, locals with matching skills and experience are given preference by law over foreign nationals in the job market.

Work visas for job seekers in Cape Town

Before you can work in Cape Town as an expatriate, you must secure a work visa. And the new immigration laws have made the process for granting a work visa in South Africa more of a challenge for foreign nationals.

Under the new regulations, hiring companies must provide evidence that the foreign national is better qualified and more highly skilled than a local applicant. The paperwork and qualifying criteria is something of a grey area.

As a potential employee, expats applying for jobs in Cape Town also have to prove they have the relevant skills and qualifications needed to fulfill the position. Job applications and relevant documents are evaluated by the SAQA and decisions are often left to the discretion of officials.

Obtaining a work visa in Cape Town is typically a long and drawn-out process. Applications are initially processed by VFS Global which follows a rigorous procedure. If you cannot provide supporting documentation, your application will not even be submitted. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) then processes applications.

Read more in our guide to work visas in South Africa for more information.

In-demand jobs including IT jobs in Cape Town

Because of the large number of unskilled workers in South Africa, there are a lot of in-demand job opportunities in Cape Town. The industry sectors with the most likely job opportunities are:

  • IT specialists
  • Engineers
  • Teachers
  • Medical staff
  • Tourism and hospitality

You can find more in-demand jobs in Cape Town together with the salaries you can expect to receive here.

Finding jobs and part-time jobs in Cape Town

Although jobs in Cape Town are advertised online, in some ways the city still operates in an old-fashioned way. Positions are often filled following personal recommendations from friends and family. Networking is therefore essential when looking for jobs.

Conventional wisdom among career coaches in South Africa holds that finding working through networking is the best to find work in Cape Town.

Social media networks such as Facebook and Linkedin are popular platforms with South African businesses so utilize this resource to connect with locals and find out what events they are involved in.

You also need to be active among the networking community. Join groups such as InterNations and Meet Up where you can meets other expats and locals and enquire about job opportunities. Other networking groups in Cape Town include:

Recruitment agencies in Cape Town

After networking, the best way to find a job in Cape Town is through a recruitment agency. There are many recruitment agencies in Cape Town, many of which provide a wide variety of general jobs whilst others specialize in specific industries and skillsets.

Recruitment agencies in Cape Town allow you to apply online. However, you’ll also have to visit their offices for a brief interview and aptitude test. Below is a list of the leading recruitment agencies and head hunters in Cape Town.

For an extensive list of job recruitment agencies in Cape Town check out this website.

Other recruitment websites where you can find jobs in Cape Town include:

Job vacancies in Cape Town: newspapers

Other than the online sites listed below, job seekers in Cape Town should look in the job listings of local newspapers. Cape Times is the largest English-speaking newspaper and has an employment section in the classifieds section which covers all manner of jobs from sales and marketing to engineering and technical jobs.

If you’re looking for work in the media industry, Independent Media is your best option for finding suitable jobs. There is work available for people in TV, radio, journalism, and editing.

Recruitment agencies in Cape Town

For marketing and media jobs, Biz Community have a jobs offered sections and includes all disciplines of the modern digital media industry. And qualified engineers should look in the jobs section of Engineers News.

News24 is an online newspaper which covers all areas of life in Cape Town and has a varied jobs section for office-based workers.

Professional business associations for jobs in Cape Town

Unless you have a degree and relevant experience, finding a job in Cape Town is notoriously difficult, albeit not impossible. You will increase your chances of find work in Cape Town by joining professional business associations that is relevant to your qualifications and experience. Below is a list of professional organizations for the most in-demand jobs for expats in Cape Town.

Apply for work in Cape Town

When submitting your CV to a South African company, include all the details you would ordinarily include. You will find more detailed guidelines about CV’s in Cape Town here, but as a general rule CV’s should be:

  • Laser printed in black and white on good quality paper
  • A CV should not be more than 2 pages
  • Tailor the information in your CV to the job you are applying for
  • Do not include details of current or preferred salary
  • Send your CV with a solid covering letter

The government in South Africa publish job interview guidelines on their website giving prospective employees in Cape Town advice for impressing future employers. Their suggestions include:

  • Research the company you are being interviewed by to impress your potential employers that you appreciate and understand their company values, objectives and are up-to-date with the latest company news
  • Arrive for your interview on time
  • Know the name of the contact person
  • Dress smartly
  • Prepare yourself. Practice common interview questions
  • Prepare a sales pitch about yourself
  • Be aware of your body language
  • Relax and be yourself. Interviews are ultimately your chance to show you are a comfortable easy going person. Prospective employers want assurance that you’re a likable person that will fit into their company culture.

For more do’s and don’t of applying for jobs in Cape Town refer to the Western Cape council advice board click here.