JLL Report – The De-Industrialization of South Africa Currently Underway

The case for why you need to review your current career path


I got a bit of a shock recently, when I learnt that a mining executive friend of mine was now recently unemployed. As a top Mining Engineer with close to 20 years working experience in the South African mining industry, it just boggled my mind, as to how this unfortunate event could have happened. Now a just released report by top commercial property company JLL on the state of industrial real estate in South Africa provides findings on the current state of industrialization in South Africa that may shed light to what is happening to the South African economy.

The report published by JLL looks at trade trends and the impact they have had on industrial real estate in South Africa. It looks at economic changes that have driven limitations, as well as opportunities in the industrial property market. The key findings are as follows:

  • The de-industrialisation of South Africa is visible in recent industrial developments. In just ten years (2005-2015), South Africa has seen a total of 11.9 million square metres of industrial and warehousing accommodation, with developers seeing minimal hard industrial developments over this time.
  • From 1994 until year 2005, over 2 million jobs were created in the manufacturing industry. Post 2005, the jobs in the manufacturing industry has reduced to 1.7 million.
  • During the same pre-2005 period, there were about 1.78 million people employed in the financial sector. After 2005, the number of people employed in the same industry is over 2.27 million.
  • The structural change of the economy towards a higher skilled labour force has resulted in rising household income and increased access to debt, which has contributed to rising imports and increased appetite for luxury goods.

In short the JLL report simply shows that the South African economy is undergoing a major transformation from a highly industrialization nation to one largely dependent on the services sector driven by a highly skilled labour force.

You can download the full report here

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