White professionals' numbers plummet

2010-09-14 15:32

Johannesburg - The representation of white South Africans in the professional sector decreased radically between 1994 and 2008, the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) said on Tuesday.

The number of registrations of white professional engineers decreased by 54.1%, while the number of white attorneys who were admitted between 1999 and 2008 decreased by 36.8%.

By contrast, the number of qualified black South Africans in professions in this sector, including accounting, information technology and the medical industry, rose by between 30% and 507%.

According to SRI head Johan Kruger, the number of black South Africans (Africans, Indians and Coloureds)  registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) increased by 248% between 1994 and 2008.

The number of registrations of black professional engineers increased by more than 111% in the same period.

In the information technology industry, the number of black graduates rose by 507.6% between 1996 and 2005.

Furthermore, the number of black medical practitioners increased by more than 30% in three years (between 2007 and 2010) and the number of black attorneys admitted increased by more than 78% between 1999 and 2008.

These findings form part of the SRI's fifth report of the SA Transformation Monitor (SAT Monitor). The SAT Monitor is designed to determine the extent to which black South Africans have benefited from black economic empowerment since the start of democracy in South Africa.
"The number of employees in the professional sector rose considerably between 1994 and 2008, with the representation of black South Africans and especially Africans showing the biggest increase," said Kruger.

"By contrast, the representation of whites in accounting professions, legal professions and engineering decreased sharply, which could probably be attributed to the constant migration of white professionals to other countries," said Kruger.
In addition, white young people are discouraged from pursuing careers in the medical sector, as the selection criteria often promote racial transformation.

"The criteria that are set for white students are more stringent than those for black students," Kruger said.

  • WAM - 2010-09-14 15:57

    even after reports like these you will see on the news it`s still not good enough for them. they want us out of here. it`s ok we are more than capable to go give our labour somewhere else and more needed. lets see how fast you run this country further down the grave.

  • Miles - 2010-09-14 15:58

    Ja well, transformation is wonderful isnt it. Those who cant do teach. If i had the means to immigrate i would. Instead I have to work for a lower salary training people to do the jobs I cant apply for.

  • Benzo - 2010-09-14 16:01

    This follows an earlier article on this forum (1 aug 2010), stating that "firms fail black youth" followed by some serious ideas about spot fines for companies who do not hire enough blacks to fill the quota. Could there be a connection between the two observations??? Young Blacks do not want to be token appointments and follow the road to professional status instead. should those blacks be fined for not filing the quota?? Maybe the racial quota system is becoming a little out dated??

  • Vickerman - 2010-09-14 16:04

    And this is why we have very few skills left in this country - just because an AA candidate has the right qualifications (read degree etc) does not mean he can do the job. Proven time and time again.

  • Corne - 2010-09-14 16:06

    quote "The criteria that are set for white students are more stringent than those for black students," Kruger said." whoppee that means that we have "qualified" black professionals that have qualified on race not on merit, guess I will keep going to my white doctor then. This is not just a slap in the face for anti-racism but for those individuals that are "qualified" cause of less stringent criteria, some of them have actually committed themselves and have achieved the required marks required for the more stringent criteria but they will all be seen as " passed due to special circumstances" The way to increase the number of professionals is not to lower the standards but to invest in their education so that the professional is what he/she is supposed to be a professional not someone with a title. The decline in "White" professionals is only a decline on SA statistics, most of the "White" students went to study abroad to pursue a qualification that will be recognized for years to come.

  • Prof Engineer - 2010-09-14 16:10

    Many young engineers are leaving the industry in search of better paid jobs. Engineers also have to compete with technicians for the same job. The industry has dug its own grave.

  • Chris - 2010-09-14 16:15

    You can add me to that number. I'm a qualified IT professional and I'm getting out of here as soon as my visa comes through

  • Barry M - 2010-09-14 16:15

    My daughter qualified to study medicine but was not accepted because she was white. She is a young woman with so much potential. She has left South Africa to study overseas and pursue her fortunes elsewhere and she is earning an absolute fortune. Because of their policy this government is losing people with huge potential and replacing them with less than mediocre individuals – there is no way on this planet I would let a locally qualified black doctor perform any sort of medical procedure on me – they are simply not competent!

  • White boy - 2010-09-14 16:17

    This article's figures are based in percentages. This does not mean that there was a drop in white professionals but just that more professionals from other non-white backgrounds registered hence showing a smaller percentage of white professionals in the industries. This should be right since the majority of the population is of non-white background. Come guys lets look at the glass half full rather than half empty!!!

  • Solidarity - 2010-09-14 16:20

    Personally, I am not suprised by the findings of Solidarity Research Institute.

  • white against racism - 2010-09-14 16:27

    Until the day arrived that we left them to their own devices, forsaken and desolate. Their mighty leaders had no more whites to blame, and they forgot how to make the wheel again, and they were back at that point in 1458, happily wandering from kraal to kraal slaughtering. But the slaughter was slow cause they didnt have the wheel any longer either....Nkosi Sikele iAfrika, may they wrest in peace.

  • mavusana - 2010-09-14 16:32

    "The criteria that are set for white students are more stringent than those for black students,". This only applies for admission to tertiary institutions. Good luck with your migrations, apartheid can never be revised in 16 yrs. It will take time for all the inequalities to be addressed. Until then, white people afford us the space please. Alive with possibilities!

  • @White Boy - 2010-09-14 16:42

    Yes this is based on percentages, but it compares the NUMBER of whites then versus the NUMBER of whites now, and then give you a percentage change. That means that the NUMBER of white in these sectors has decreased. It does not say that the percentage of whites in these sectors has decreased - that would be obvious given the improved freedom given to blacks post 1994. So this article highlights that either: 1) Whites are less likely to be able to afford to study than before. 2) White professionals are leaving the country. 3) Whites are less likely to be offered jobs in these sector due to BEE etc. Four years ago I got fed up with the BEE rat race and I took my MSc in medical genetics and my LLM in intellectual property to the UK. I am now happily settled in London where your qualifications and experiance are more important than the colour of your skin. Nuff said!

  • H - 2010-09-14 16:46

    It took me 9 months to find a company to employ me on my merit as an young white male with a bachelors degree. I will only work there till me visa has come through and then finally leave this country, as I have to work for a lower salary and lower employment description than what I'm qualified for and experienced as. Other companies blatantly showed me the door because of my racial status. That just goes to show you how well this country looks after us whites. The term Previously Disadvantaged for blacks have now been transformed to Presently Disadvantaged for whites. Thank you government for alienating me out of my country of birth and a country I love so much.

  • Power Positions - 2010-09-14 16:47

    Growth for "black" South Africans looks good. How does it transfer to corporate though as JSE listed companies still have +90% white execs on the boards ? Are the so called "blacks" still not educated enough to fill these positions ?

  • Clive - 2010-09-14 16:49


  • WAM@mavusana - 2010-09-14 16:53

    how much more time do you need seeing that the white nation has been stripped to the bone, will you be happy when every white man is poor begging on the streets ? or when this country is in the state that zimbabwe and kenya is, history is there for a reason my friend, use it don`t follow it. i agree everyone desirves a place in the sun, lets just be fair about it.

  • black doctor - 2010-09-14 17:00

    Barry M. To say black doctors are simply not competent is a generalisation. A racist one for that matter. We passed the same exam as our white counterparts to qualify. We are dealing with people's lives so it would be wrong for a university to let someone qualify if they are not competent.

  • RVB - 2010-09-14 17:14

    Regardless of colour...the resultant effect is a massive loss of highly skilled labour to other countries.In other words a HUGE skills shortage which can only ever be detrimental to South Africa...and thats the bottom line! Articles make me very nervous about the future of our country!

  • glasnost - 2010-09-14 17:30

    ALL BECAUSE of the constitution which de Klerk and Pik Botha negotiated for us--the root cause of the problems in SA is the constitution--sections 9 and 195 in particular --I can understand the blacks wanting to destroy us but I can't understand how the Nationalists and the captains of industry facilitated this--WOW

  • Cheryl - 2010-09-14 17:42

    I think it is an insult to blacks if they are selected based on race instead of ability. Could the past not be addressed by offering bursaries to any young person with a high level of intelligence and desire to work hard? Why should a young white person who had nothing to do with apartheid be denied the opportunity to reach his/her full potential. That is partly why we are in this situation in SA - because of racism. We are just blindly repeating the same mistake. We need competent professionals who can hold their heads up high and be proud of themselves. We are doing the blacks a disservice and almost telling them that they are not as capable as the whites - ridiculous!

  • DIR - 2010-09-14 18:13

    Same with me, i started to working for an off shore company, here I'm safe because they don't take ones with engineers qualifications but ones that can do the work, so good luck to the "new South Africa"

  • Richard - 2010-09-14 21:47

    I took my MSc in Engineering and went overseas. I now have a nice house, car, etc. Most importantly, I am taxed less, have clean streets, no beggers and leave my front door unlocked and the windows open at night. I also earn 3x what I did in SA. Do I miss the country? Sure. Am I coming back ? Hell no!

  • Scaramouche - 2010-09-14 21:51

    I am a white professional who will be returning to South Africa after 8 years abroad. With the skillset I have now, I am going to make a killing in SA. I have been approached by interested parties and can't wait to apply my trade, both with companies and working for myself!!

  • ThinkLikeAnEngineer - 2010-09-14 22:09

    The commentry here clearly shows that a lot of people speak with heart and their minds in SA. And a lot of negative sentiment is based on racial bias instead of facts. I study at a former Technikon. The lecturers said in the past that there were only a handful of students in a class in the "white only days". Looking at the old pictures you can see that. Now they have allowed all races in and don't control the numbers of students so classes are packed and it translates to more graduades particularly those of colour. So the fact the amounts of whites has decreased is because of the proportions ie more black people are allowed to enter so their will obviously be lower proportions of whites relatively speaking. There are still the same number of whites studying as the old days. The same applies to work, there are But obviously there also the reality that standards have dropped and a lot of whites are emmigrating out of fear/bitterness. That is defnitely having an effect too, but its not all as bad as everyone makes it out to be. In fact when people emmigrate they are merely increasing the job opportunities for locals of all races. Whites are still living prosperous lives, just more and more Blacks are joining their ranks changing the stats. Just like Blacks get robbed just as much Whites. All the haters get with the program, the old way is over.

  • Squawk - 2010-09-14 22:48

    Black Doctor. When a black man fails, it's racism! Read the article! Whites must pass a more stringent test to be admitted.Generalisation, Africa is a generalisation. Can't you see it? The whole Africa is failing. Oh, Thats Racism! Sorry

  • white afrikaans doc - 2010-09-14 23:14

    Just want to add, i am a white doctor still working in the public sector, helping the people that cant afford better. There are many of us "white" medical professionals committed so serve the people of this country. this includes white and black people. And it really REALLY hurts to be called a racist by another person who does not acknowledge my contribution to a better RSA for all. PS: I have been taught , and am currently teaching, brilliant "black" medical doctors. Lets build this country together.

  • @ ThinkLikeAnEng - 2010-09-15 07:18

    Take your own advice. In engineering, quality always tops quantity. Yes, in the past, apartheid was to blame for blacks not being able to study fields like engineering. But what you seem to forget is that not EVERY white man simply walked into a university and started studying engineering. There has always been admission requirements, and they have always been high. Now the education system is so messed up virtually anybody can become an engineer/scientist/lawyer or whatever. And not only did they drop the admission requirements, they also made the courses easier to raise the pass rate. I've got engineering and computer science degrees. I've worked on quite a few projects all over the world, and I can tell you most of our "graduates" has nothing more then a very expensive state sponsored piece of paper telling me how they wasted 3 to 4 years of my tax money. They simply aren't on the level. Everything needs to be spoon fed to them. The most basic of tasks takes forever and are rarely completed without any senior intervention. So yes, we are producing more and more professionals, but we are also loosing all the experienced, properly trained and educated professionals to the rest of the world. One good engineer cannot be replaced by a million bad ones. And this goes for most professions. I'm not arguing that blacks shouldn't be allowed to study in these fields. I consider all modern professional graduates to be of equal uselessness. What I am arguing is that we go back to an education system that forces students to achieve before allowing them to study the professions that simply require the best in order to be worth anything. Raise the admission requirements and the course loads. Challenge the students. Allow them to learn. Yes, we will have considerably less professionals, but at least the ones we have will be capable.

  • Doorboot - 2010-09-15 07:50

    This article is unclear, using percentages like it does does not paint an accurate picture. Rather give acual numbers. Not a good piece at all.

  • Percentage - 2010-09-15 08:06

    These are percentages. Have a look at the actual numbers then the percentages become meaningless. When I was at UCT a few years ago I was one of the only coloured guys in a Business Science lecture. If we had to look at the increase in percentages from 1994 to when I graduated it would probably show a 500% percent increase in coloureds admitted to the Business Science course. Actual numbers would probably be very little.

  • andrE - 2010-09-15 08:11

    I can not understand why the whole world is not applying sanctions against South Africa for the blatant racially discriminating policies of the ANC government. They did it very successfully against the NP government.

  • John - 2010-09-15 08:12

    @scaramouche........everyone's trying to get out of SA and you want to get back in?? Not sure when last you where here but things have changed in 8 years. Stay where you are mate.

  • TB - 2010-09-15 08:13

    Studying at RAU a couple of years back, we found out that the black students got extra classes and extra exercises from the lectors??? After querying this we were basically told to go to hell. So, there is just another contribution to this percentages.

  • @ Posting at 16:42 - 2010-09-15 08:17

    A 4th reason is that the professional bodies, especially the HPCSA, seem to be very biased against whites - I have been personnally affected and know of several other white applicants that have really battled to get registered. This seems to go beyond pure incompetence (which is also there), and heads towards active, malicious discrimination to make as difficult as possible for a white applicant to be admitted.

  • TheOne - 2010-09-15 08:27

    Why is it that black people are not "racist" but should another race even think of talking about black people, they are labeled? The truth is that black people are very racist, the reason is because the government allow it, and sometimes seems to encourage it. am I being racists for telling the truth that everyone already knows?

  • AJ @ mavusana - 2010-09-15 08:36

    If I was black and at university doing medicine etc and knew full well, that not only were my marks lower than the others (not exactly the best endorsement a student should have starting out), and that the others did much better than me to qualify for a position or that I was actually depriving another student who had better marks than me of a position, I would hang my head in shame. There are whites who get 90% and there are blacks who get 90% - so why change the criteria. I cannot trust the credentials of people who (aside from race) would not have been accepted to study a course because they were not deserving enough. End of story.

  • Also an engineer - 2010-09-15 08:39

    @thinklikeanengineer: that is the worst argument made in the name of logical thinking ever! the larger the class, the less your personal attention from lecturing staff is, the worse the quality of your education. I think you will find that what actually happened is that, particularly within the engineering field, the government incentivised institutions to produce engineering graduates ( because of the brain-drain we were/are running low) so institutions radically increased their engineering class sizes to cash in on the governments promise. dont be fooled, you of all people should know, the statistics can be made to say anything you want them to say. @mavusana you are correct it does apply only to admissions, and only at a handful of varsities, the double standard was to account for particularly gifted students in bad schools, it was never to boost black numbers contrary to popular belief... the problem with the system is that under achieving BEE brats from bishops are getting in on the same lowered standards as their langa peers, and that is wrong!

  • Derek - 2010-09-15 08:52

    Squawk - They write the same exams, it's just the selection criteria to progress in the profession that favours non-whites. Doctor Black - As per the above, this is a very deliberate form of racism. You must surely concede this?

  • Adriaan - 2010-09-15 09:00

    I am an electronic Engineer in RSA. Military stuff and all. Now working in alternative energy. To old to leave. My son studying industrial engineer CANNOT get a bursary (TOO light skinned). I just told him to finish his degree and then LEAVE the country. REVERSE APARTHEID and racism is not a good recipe for the future.

  • HERE WE ARE - 2010-09-15 09:08

    What these black empowerment and discriminatory entities need to know is you can’t keep a white man down. I am a white professional with a bachelor’s degree and a post graduate degree. I worked for a company in South Africa for 3 years after leaving varsity, saw what discrimination was first hand, left and started my own business. I now employ 50 blacks and feed all their families. And i am not alone, so many white pro's have become entrepreneurs and made something out of nothing. Us white devils are so good at that, making something out of nothing. So don’t for a second think we have given up on SA, we have just shape shifted into entrepreneurs, and creating jobs for the masses who continue to breed themselves into squalor and hopelessness.

  • Thabo - 2010-09-15 09:13

    This article should be treated with comtempt. If the figures are right why is it that in the Mining Industry and the Employment Equity reports still white male and women dominate. We know in the Mines, a white person can be a site manager without the necessary papers but for the minority you need the necessary certificates for the joband even in acting roles. Until the figures show otherwise these reports mean nothing. If blacks get more papers and the sectors are not transformed they will not settle in the various industries. How many blacks do articles, work with Anglo American and how many have made it inthe Corporate ladder. The current corporate culture in SA mkaes it easy for the minority in the private sector. Until real transformation happens and the figures start showing these articles will mean nothing to blacks.

  • Akono - 2010-09-15 09:19

    Most of SA mining operational and executive heads don't even have degrees and most are white.The reason why the sector is declining without even empowerment and transformation taking place. If the mines were run by blacks the few racist would have blamed BEE an Employment Equity.

  • Young & Qualified - 2010-09-15 09:22

    Even as a qualified coloured lady. We get the same treatment in the industry. I hate being classified as black. Because there's a huge difference in the way I experience life as opposed to other races. But ya....that's SA right. Not much we can do as to grin and bear it

  • john doe - 2010-09-15 09:27

    Talking about SA's problems won't help! You have to take actions!!Take responsibility for your life man! Don't blame it the blacks or whites! It's not going to get better in SA, so you either leave or ....! Richard you nailed it!!! My opinion, 90% of the blacks aren't capable to succeed in life. 90% of the capable whites are gone! Zimbabwe here we come, buy a truck now, you are going to need it to transport your money on the way to Checkers!!!!

  • Bongz - 2010-09-15 09:31

    I'm very happy to see South Africans from both sides of race interacting, the only way to get to the problems affecting this beautiful country is through dialogue not assumption. By reading all the comments here, I can conclude that all of you love this beautiful country called SA. I'm proudly SA'n and I wont run to any country because of the problems that my country is facing...God Bless Africa.

  • Jaco - 2010-09-15 09:36


  • ProudlyAfrican - 2010-09-15 09:39

    Interesting stats, but my question is where are these qualified black accountants, engineers, doctors, lawyers etc etc?They are nowhere to be seen in the higher echelons of corporate South Africa. I work for a bank and all i see in the meetings is pale faces. I wonder oif these stats are not inflated. We want to see numbers not percentages cause sometimes percentages are misleading. 507% could mean 20 people.

  • David - 2010-09-15 10:00

    Put some shoe polish on your face and say "eeish" You will get "THE JOB"

  • Eileen - 2010-09-15 10:23

    History has an uncanny way of repeating itself and you reap what you sow. BEE & AA may one day be delegated to the history books but the memories of black oppression, violence, fraud and crime will live on in the memories of white people. Democracy promotes a free market driven economy that has to function in an open loop and not a closed AA & BEE loop. I am a female white professional & have experienced EXTREME racial discrimination. I have now become an entrepeneur & all my dreams are being realized. I have not played the racecard or complained but gone on in life. Thank you ANC for causing me to rise to the occassion. I am fast becoming financially free.AA & BEE has caused whites to become entrepeneurs and blacks to become reactive and welfare driven. Try any govt office. The service is appalling.I am merely stating a fact

  • James1 - 2010-09-15 11:05

    Racism is alive and well in SA. Apartheid as well. My wife (white) works for a large corporate and she found out that all the Black employees, regardless of ability, work ethic, performance evaluations etc. get shares in the company. The whites don't. Look on the roads and you will see that the Blacks are driving brand new cars while the whites are stuck with the 8-12 year old cars. Look at the government institutions: whites don't get appointed because they are not black; people get told that they are not allowed to speak Afrikaans as they must speak English while their colleagues can speak Zulu, Xhosa etc;