Creating a sufficient, sustained supply of tertiary level ICT skills at graduate level to stimulate growth in the developing South African economy is an important concern for all stakeholders involved in the South African ICT labour market. This article furthers the discourse on the much discussed ICT graduate shortage in South Africa by presenting a neo-classical labour market analysis of the demand and the supply of scarce skills ICT graduates in South Africa, validating the existence of a shortage through labour market theory, and then exploring the validity of variables influencing the supply side of this ICT labour market. Reports describing South African ICT skills supply and demand are readily available1, but the consistency and accuracy of these figures have been questioned (Lotriet & Matthee, 2010). Presenting the available data using labour market supply and demand curves provides another angle of approach to this data and an opportunity to validate the existence of a skills shortage (if it exists), as well as reasons for such a shortage. This neo-classical labour market view of the South African ICT skills deficiency is enriched with a discussion about the elasticity of supply within the South African ICT labour market. Findings from this section of the study includes the tendency of an increase in scarce labour supply to trigger further increases in demand for such skills through an increase in capital investments within the scarce skills sectors, causing a yearly supply shortage to remain until capital investments reaches profit-maximizing equilibrium.
In the latter part of this article we investigate variables that influence the elasticity of supply within the ICT labour market using a large scale survey of tertiary students. Ways of (i) increasing the elasticity of ICT graduate supply and (ii) increasing the overall ICT graduate supply level through the manipulation of these variables are discussed. Findings include, amongst others, the importance of long term relationships (with well-informed parents and teachers) as primary motivator for tertiary ICT study and the importance of industry informed (demand driven) ICT related subjects at secondary school level as motivation for tertiary ICT study. The match between ICT skills being supplied and demanded also receives mention as part of this conceptual ICT labour market analysis.
Breytenbach, Johan and de Villiers, Carina, "Supply elasticity within the South African ICT labour market" (2012). GlobDev 2012. 1.