Conceptual framework

Conceptual Framework for the 2020 National List of Occupations in High Demand, List of Priority Occupations, and Critical Skills List

The Conceptual Framework on the 2020 National List of OIHD provides details on the research project scope and rationale, background and purpose. This document also provides context on the key concepts and research questions, methods and approaches.

Labour Market Intelligence research programme


This research aims to inform the publication of the list of Occupations in High Demand (OIHD), the list of Priority Occupations and, on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs, the Critical Skills List. Each of these lists of occupations will be published in both 2020 and 2022.

The aim of this report is to outline the conceptual framework  underpinning the list of OIHD, the list of Priority Occupations and the Critical Skills List. Particular attention is paid to how the definitions both overlap and differ from one another. The target audience for this paper is policymakers and planners at DHET who have been tasked with compiling these lists and ensuring that they feed into policy and planning processes. The report also sets out the ways in which the definitions of these three groups of occupations both overlap and differ from one another.

This publication covers

  • Introduction: definition & conceptual framework for OIHD
  • Concept of priority occupations
  • Description of the key conceptual components of this category of occupations
  • Outlines rationale for and definition of occupations on the critical skills list
  • Covers purposes and dimensions of the lists