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.