Spotlight on SME recruitment trends in South Africa


SMEs play a crucial role in South Africa’s economy. They contribute significantly to job creation, economic growth, and innovation.

SMEs act as a catalyst for change, fostering entrepreneurship, and generating employment opportunities. However, these enterprises often face various challenges, particularly in the realm of recruitment. Issues such as time-to-hire and recruitment costs in particular can hinder their ability to attract quality talent.

To address these challenges, Pnet’s specialised online recruitment platform has emerged as a powerful tool to help SMEs find the right candidates for their vacant roles, thereby boosting their competitiveness in the market.

Recruitment activities in the Finance sector

Pnet is committed to exponentially helping SMEs realise their business visions by helping them attract and retain their most important asset – their people.

A key challenge SMEs face is finding employees who are a good fit for their business and who have the skills required to increase efficiency and business growth.

– Paul Byrne, Head of Data Insights & Customer Success at Pnet

Pnet researched the recruitment needs of SMEs over 12 months (Q2:2022 to Q2:2023) and the findings revealed that Finance skills fall within the five most in-demand skills within small and medium enterprises, alongside skills in the Business & Management, Sales, IT and Admin, Office & Support sectors.

“When comparing hiring activity between September, October and November 2023 with the previous three months (June, July, August 2023), Pnet’s findings revealed that hiring activity for Finance professionals (Bookkeeping, Payroll & Wages and Financial / Project Accounting) had increased by 3%,” says Byrne.

“Recent Pnet data (Q1:2023) indicates that talent in this sector is reasonably stable in that, on average, people stay in Finance jobs for 3 years and 8 months. The average tenure in South Africa across all sectors is 2 years and 4 months. Furthermore, our data shows that 49% of candidates have a tertiary qualification; 43.8% of candidates are willing to relocate, with 60.8% residing in Gauteng; 60% are female; and 79.4% are employment equity candidates.”

A study on ‘Factors Affecting Small and Medium Enterprises’ Financial Sustainability in South Africa’ published in December 2021 emphasised the importance of accounting skills within SMEs: ‘It was found that financial awareness, budgeting and accounting skills… have positive and significant effects on the financial sustainability of SMEs’.

Over the last five years, salary offers for Finance professionals have increased by up to 25%. Top paid roles include Financial Analysis and Internal Auditing. Lowest paid roles include Bookkeeping and Accounts Payable / Receivable. Apart from the salary cost associated with employing skilled Finance professionals, there is also often a hefty price tag when it comes to sourcing and hiring suitable candidates. SMEs also require a quick turnaround time when it comes to filling their job vacancies, which can present yet another recruitment challenge.

How SMEs can become more efficient in their recruiting processes

Pnet offers SMEs a range of benefits to help them save both time and money during the hiring process, and find the right candidates for their vacancies – ultimately driving business success.

  • Reducing time-to-hire

Sourcing candidates directly using job-matching technology streamlines the hiring process so that SMEs can quickly and directly reach more jobseekers. SMEs can advertise their vacancies directly to active jobseekers, or tap into a database of professional candidates. Pnet’s online recruitment portal offers a host of easy-to-use tools and features to easily filter and shortlist suitable candidates from their database of over 6 million jobseekers. What’s more, recruiters’ job ads get further reach from the 100 million Job Alerts that Pnet sends directly to jobseekers’ inboxes every month.

  • Reducing recruitment costs

By going direct to the source of suitable candidates using Pnet’s specialised recruitment platform, SMEs can save up to 60% on their recruitment costs. Pnet uses advanced algorithms and analytics to target job advertisements to the most relevant candidates. This enables recruiters to find quality candidates using locally relevant filters, and even create a talent pool to access when they need to hire for similar roles in the future.

At Pnet, our purpose is “The Right Job for Everyone”. By partnering with Pnet, SMEs can find the right person for the job, at the right time, and at the right cost – empowering them to compete with larger corporations and attract quality talent that drives their business growth and success.

For help with SME recruitment efforts, contact Pnet | +27 (0)10 140 3099 | mail me |



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