It’s a tough time in SA. Jobs are hard to come by and hard to keep. Here’s how you can make yourself attractive to potential employers and indispensable in your current position

South Africans are living in turbulent times. Uncertainty caused by limp economic growth, corruption, infrastructural challenges and rampant unemployment are making life difficult for many people.

The number of jobless people in SA has increased to a staggering 29,1% this quarter, according to Stats SA. A shocking 6,7 million South Africans are currently unemployed – the  highest number since the global recession in 2008.

While no-one is entirely irreplaceable, there are certain things you can do to make yourself more useful to your company. If you’re looking for a job, there are ways to ensure that you’re an appealing candidate, explains Patrick Emorhokpor, Attraction Manager at Humanity Recruitment.

Be flexible

Employees with a varied skills set who can handle multiple functions within a business are more valuable. For example, an accountant who can pivot from finance and take on an extra responsibility such as procurement is more of an asset than someone who only has one function.

Personality matters

Where two applicants for a job have exactly the same skills and experience, the biggest differentiator becomes their personalities. If an applicant has a personality that makes an interviewer think: “I’d like to work with this person”, then that’s the trump card. People with high emotional intelligence always stand out. They’re confident, friendly, understanding, smart, knowledgeable and great communicators.

Keep learning

B-BBEE companies are now required to invest in the learning and development of their employees, but most employees are either unaware of this or fail to take advantage of it. They should take the opportunity to develop their skills sets, ensuring they have a better chance of future employment or career advancement.

Change your mindset

A simple exercise that may make negotiating the job market less daunting is to consider that we’re more in a “skills-short” economy than a “job-scarce” one. This puts power back in people’s hands. Develop your skills intelligently, in line with current and future demand, and you’ll be a better prospect for employers.