Technical Report

The 2020 List of Priority Occupations: A Technical Report

Achieving economic growth and development often necessitates structural shifts in the economy. In many cases, these shifts create skills shortages and mismatches within labour markets. Although these imbalances are sometimes corrected through market forces, often, intervention is required

Labour Market Intelligence Research Programme


Pillar two of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) specifically places responsibility on the state to plan for skills in support of economic growth through the development of a Priority Skills Plan (PSP). The List of Priority Occupations (LPO) is an essential building block of the PSP. If the PSP is going to define interventions to prevent future skills gaps, it must be informed by what those skills gaps are likely to be. The LPO presents this essential piece of information.

A criteria-based filtering approach was employed to identify occupations appropriate for the LPO. Through this approach, occupations were identified that were in acute shortage or strategically important to the South African economy – currently or likely to be in the future. Once identified, the list was validated through interviews and workshops with various public and private sector representatives and stakeholders.

This publication covers

  • Introduction to the List of Priority Occupations
  • Conceptualising the criteria for LPO inclusion
  • Methodology for identifying occupations
  • Analysis of results
  • Presenting the preliminary LPO