Published report

Supply and Demand of Artisans in South Africa

Over a 10-year period, 30 844 artisans registered as unemployed work seekers across 34 trades, pointing to an imbalance between the supply and demand of artisans.


There has been considerable success in reviving artisan training. In the last ten years 172 805 artisans passed their trade test.

In terms of demand, a 2020 tracer found that 79.0% of qualifying artisans are employed by a company, 2.0% are self-employed and 19.0% are unemployed. The 32 833 unemployed (19% of 172 805) nearly equates to the 30 844 artisans registered with the Department of Employment and Labour as unemployed work seekers across 34 trades. So are we producing too many artisans?

Many stakeholders argue that you cannot produce too many artisans. Even if qualified artisans do not find formal employment, they will find work of some sort and will earn an income. But the data shows that some of the trades that have been given the highest priority are also contributing the largest number of artisans to the unemployment pool. There is also evidence that some of the trades identified as “critical”, are not being produced in South Africa. A more targeted approach is needed to supply the skills that are needed in the economy.

This publication covers

  • Methodolgy
  • Supply of Artisans
  • Demand for Artisans
  • Imbalances between demand and supply
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Conclusions: supply, demand and imbalance
  • Recommendations